19 Feb 2014

'Too early' to write off Macraes mine

10:42 am on 19 February 2014

The operator of the country's largest gold mine says people should not write it off yet, as the gold price has to rebound one day.

Oceana Gold last month shed about a fifth of the workforce from the Macraes Mine in East Otago, and signalled the mine's end in 2017.

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Photo: RNZ

Macraes' general manager Bernie O'Leary says the mine laid off the 110 staff and contractors to stay viable because the international gold price has fallen by a quarter in the past year.

He says it is prudent to start thinking about the end of Macraes, which will end the flow of wealth and jobs into Otago and wider New Zealand.

But Mr O'Leary says the gold price has to recover sometime and if the mine can survive until then, it should come out stronger and expand again.

The mine is on track to pour its four millionth ounce of gold next month, worth about $6 billion at today's prices.