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MELBOURNE, Oct. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - OceanaGold Corporation (TSX/ASX/NZX: OGC) (the "Company") confirms that it has received a letter from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ("DENR") along with the Didipio Audit Report ("Audit Report") that outlines the findings and recommendations from the recently completed audit of its Didipio Operations. According to the DENR letter, the Company has the opportunity to address the findings and recommendations contained within the Audit Report within seven days of receipt.
The Company notes that, of the findings and recommendations outlined in the Audit Report, a number of them were discussed as a matter of routine with the DENR audit team during the DENR close out meeting following the completion of the audit in August. The findings in the Audit Report relate mostly to a need to further educate a broader group of stakeholders on specific aspects of the operations. The vast majority of recommendations relate to the need to further expand the Company's Information, Education and Communication ("IEC") program. Furthermore, the "findings" on the Didipio operations publicised during the DENR press conference on 26 September 2016, were not included as findings outlined in the Audit Report.
The Audit Report states that the Company "has extended more than what is required by law…" and "was found to be complying its permitting requirements set forth by different Philippine Environmental Laws…Moreover its operations are being governed by an Environmental Management System that is ISO 14001:2004 compliant…" The Audit Report goes on to say that the area of Didipio, "has to deal with illegal artisanal small scale mining activities that contribute to the degradation of the immediate environment and waterbodies..." and includes a recommendation to government agencies to stop these illegal operations.
Mick Wilkes, President and CEO said, "The Didipio Mine is a world class operation that operates in accordance with the highest industry standards for health, safety, environment, community and sustainability. The results of the Audit Report and discussions we've had with the audit team and with government officials including those within the DENR clearly demonstrates this. In our discussions with the DENR and government officials, we have good alignment and we look forward to our collective efforts to advance a responsible mining sector." Mr. Wilkes added, "As such, I am very confident that our responses to the DENR will satisfy all of the findings and recommendations that have been raised."
He went on to say, "I am also pleased that the Didipio operation was nominated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, an agency of the DENR, for the 2016 Presidential 'Most Environmentally Responsible Mining Operation" for a third straight year. As the award recipient in 2015 and nominee again in 2016, we believe that the Didipio operation is the template for what President Duterte is seeking when stating his desire for a responsible mining sector within the Philippines."
The Didipio Mine continues to operate without interruption and 2016 guidance is firmly maintained.
OceanaGold Corporation is a mid-tier, low-cost, multinational gold producer with assets located in the Philippines, New Zealand and the United States. The Company's assets encompass its flagship operation, the Didipio Gold-Copper Mine located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. On the North Island of New Zealand, the Company operates the high-grade Waihi Gold Mine while on the South Island of New Zealand, the Company operates the largest gold mine in the country at the Macraes Goldfield which is made up of a series of open pit mines and the Frasers underground mine. In the United States, the Company is currently constructing the Haile Gold Mine, a top-tier asset located in South Carolina along the Carolina Terrane. The Company expects the Haile Gold Mine to commence commercial production in early 2017. OceanaGold also has a significant pipeline of organic growth and exploration opportunities in the Asia-Pacific and Americas regions.
OceanaGold has operated sustainably over the past 26 years with a proven track record for environmental management and community and social engagement. The Company has a strong social license to operate and works collaboratively with its valued stakeholders to identify and invest in social programs that are designed to build capacity and not dependency.
In 2016, the Company expects to produce 385,000 to 425,000 ounces of gold from the combined New Zealand and Didipio operations and 19,000 to 21,000 tonnes of copper from the Didipio operation at All-In Sustaining Costs of US$700 to US$750 per ounce.
Cautionary Statement for Public Release
Certain information contained in this public release may be deemed "forward-looking" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements and information relate to future performance and reflect the Company's expectations regarding the outcome of the DENR audit and its impact on the Didipio operation, the generation of free cash flow, execution of business strategy, future growth, future production, estimated costs, results of operations, business prospects and opportunities of OceanaGold Corporation and its related subsidiaries. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", "plans", "estimates" or "intends", or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements and information. They include, among others, the accuracy of mineral reserve and resource estimates and related assumptions, inherent operating risks and those risk factors identified in the Company's most recent Annual Information Form prepared and filed with securities regulators which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company's name. There are no assurances the Company can fulfil forward-looking statements and information. Such forward-looking statements and information are only predictions based on current information available to management as of the date that such predictions are made; actual events or results may differ materially as a result of risks facing the Company, some of which are beyond the Company's control. Although the Company believes that any forward-looking statements and information contained in this press release is based on reasonable assumptions, readers cannot be assured that actual outcomes or results will be consistent with such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and information. The Company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements and information, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws. The information contained in this release is not investment or financial product advice.
SOURCE OceanaGold Corporation
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For further information: Investor Relations: Sam Pazuki, Tel: +1 416 915 3123, Email: [email protected]; Jeffrey Sansom, Tel: +61 3 9656 5321, Email: [email protected]; Media Relations: Jill Thomas, Tel: +61 3 9656 5300, Email: [email protected]; [email protected], www.oceanagold.com, Twitter: @OceanaGold