OceanaGold’s open pit Globe Progress mine near Reefton is in the fifth year of post-closure site rehabilitation. It is located in a mountainous area of native forest on public conservation land.
The mine’s 260-hectare footprint occupies mainly an area of historic mine workings since regenerating into beech-dominated native forest. Between 2007 and 2016 Globe Progress produced more than 610,000 ounces of gold. OceanaGold processed mined ore into a concentrate, which it transported by truck and rail to the Macraes mine in East Otago where the company produced gold bars for export.
Globe Progress also comprised the much smaller Souvenir pit (later used for tailings storage), the Fossicker’s tailings storage facility, as well as the Devils Creek and Union Creek waste rock stacks, roads, buildings, and a handling area for ore processing.
Over eight years of full production, the mine employed about 250-300 full time workers and, through direct and indirect employment, is estimated to have provided 550 FTEs within the West Coast region and $250 million in income for West Coast households. The company has estimated other expenditure for West Coast businesses to have exceeded $100 million.
A number of factors contributed to OceanaGold’s decision to place Globe Progress into care-and-maintenance and then closure, including the relatively low gold price at the time.