The Buller District mayor says news that the Reefton Gold Mine will close two years earlier than expected is a bombshell, wiping out jobs most of the small West Coast town relies on.
On Friday, owner OceanaGold announced the mine will be mothballed in 2015, rather than 2017 as originally planned, due to the falling price of gold.
The district's mayor, Pat McManus, says the mine accounts for about 250 jobs in the Reefton area and the majority of local people rely on it for their income.
OceanaGold says it is continuing to explore the possibility of developing other mines in the region.
Mr McManus says he hopes the mining company goes ahead with those plans, to prevent too many people becoming unemployed.