Newmont Waihi Gold operate the Martha open pit and Favona underground mines near the town of Waihi in New Zealand, having acquired the operation in February 2002 as part of the Normandy Mining acquisition by Newmont Mining Corporation. Mining of the pit was set to end in 2006, but activities were extended through a stabilisation program on the southern pit wall. The existing mine plan1 indicates the closure of the open pit in August 2010, and the underground operation as occurring in August 2011. A possible Eastern Layback (currently being evaluated) could extend the life of the open pit to Sept 2013. Although local and regional exploration programs continue, it is quite possible that all mining operations in Waihi could cease within the next two to four years. Closure is likely to involve a series of step changes, associated with the closure of the open pit and underground mines at (likely) different times, followed later by processing operations and finally the rehabilitation areas. Therefore the changes and resultant impacts discussed in this report will almost certainly be spread over a period of several years. This is an important factor to consider when planning for closure.

As part of its operating permit, NWG undertakes a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) of the effects of its activities on the Waihi community every two years. In addition, the mine has been the focus of a number of internal reviews including most recently as a case study site for Newmont’s global Community Relationships Review. One of the findings of the latter study was that due to the continued discussion of closure in parallel with the approval of successive extensions, there is a sense of disbelief within the community that closure will occur. This phenomenon was referred to by one participant in that research as “the mirage of closure”. With this in mind, NWG chose to focus this SIA study specifically on the topic of mine closure and its impact on the Waihi community.

Language: English

Publisher: CSRM

Region: South Pacific

Type: Report

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Social Impacts of Closure of Newmont Waihi Gold operations

Social Impacts of Closure of Newmont Waihi Gold operations