24 Aug 2011

Plans to extend mining in Waihi

4:47 am on 24 August 2011

Plans have been announced that could extend gold and silver mining in Waihi past 2020.

The announcement by Newmont Gold, the company that runs the Waihi mines, reverses speculation that mining in the town would start to wind down within the next few years.

The plans include an underground exploration programme within the rim of the existing crater.

Another part of the proposal would establish an underground mine east of Waihi, which would replace the existing underground Favona and Trio mines.

Newmont says these developments would ensure the continued employment of 700 people working directly or indirectly at the mines.

Gold is currently selling at $US1877 per ounce, triple its level of five years ago.

Waihi resident Christine Mallett says people are resigned to continued mining near their homes and do not think there is much they can do to stop it.

Ms Mallett says current experience suggests people will feel and hear the blasting under their homes as others already do from the nearby Favona workings.

She says locals are not happy with the expansion plans, but believe it is just the way it is.