Soldier's letter inspires play by MarvinGolden


									                                                                         THE NEWS
                                                                                                          WESTPORT, THURSDAY 18 JUNE, 2009

                                                                                                                   Serving the community since 1871

    Gold output Murchison quake recalled
                                             171 Palmerston St , Westport, NZ | Phone 789 7319 | Fax 789 7203 | email: |                                                                              70c (65c home delivery)

   up 50 per cent
                                                                                                                    by Amelia Langford
                                                                                                                       Jean Burrows may be 103-years-old but she can
                                                                                                                    still remember the terrible noise when the Murchison
                                                                                                                    earthquake struck Westport in 1929.
                                                                                                                       It was just after 10am on June 17 and Jean was
                                                                                                                    “on a message” – doing some shopping on Palmer-
                                                                                                                    ston Street – when the ground started shaking.
by Lee Scanlon                                           to drill test possible extensions to the Globe-Progress
                                                                                                                       “It was terrifying. The whole length of Palmerston
                                                         mining permit alone, in particular those which might
  Reefton’s OceanaGold goldmine produced 50 per                                                                     Street was moving,” she recalled.
                                                         impact on short-term mine planning for 2009.
cent more gold last year than in 2007.                                                                                 She grabbed people around her to stop herself
                                                            Results so far had suggested a significant
  The increase, to 76,132 ounces, reflected the first                                                                 from falling.
                                                         resource with relatively high grades. Further drill-
full year of production, said OceanaGold’s annual                                                                      “You were slipping all over the place, you couldn’t
                                                         ing was planned, including tests on the continuity of
report.                                                                                                             stand still. You didn’t know where to look for to
                                                         the Birthday Reef, below previous historic workings
  The mine had exceeded its planned throughput                                                                      escape.”
                                                         in the Blackwater mine, which was adjacent to the
rates by 19 per cent.                                                                                                  Jean, who has lived in Westport all her life, recalls
                                                         Reefton operation.
  During the year, 13.8 million tonnes of material had                                                              shops on either side of the street moving - leaning
                                                            The Reefton mine was commissioned in 2007.
been moved compared to 13 million tonnes in 2007.                                                                   in towards the road. The sound of stock falling off
                                                         It is expected to average 70,000 ounces of gold a
  Most mining had taken place at the Globe pit, with                                                                shelves, and chimneys crumbling, created a “ter-
                                                         year and has about five years of remaining mine life,
some minor tonnages mined from the General Gor-                                                                     rible” noise.
                                                         based on current reserves only.
don and Empress pits further along the strike.
                                                            OceanaGold now has three operating mines in                “It went on for so long, you wondered what the end
  The Reefton mine produces a concentrate that is
                                                         New Zealand. Between them they are expected to             was going to be…
railed 800km south to Palmerston where it is trucked
                                                         produce between 280,000 and 300,000 ounces of                  “I don’t think there was a chimney left standing in
to Oceana’s Macraes operation for final processing.
                                                         gold this year.                                            Westport.”
  Contracted staff turnover was a challenge at the
                                                            Last year Oceana had record sales of 264,124               Westport’s post office tower also fell down and
mine, the report said.
                                                         ounces, a 49 per cent increase on 2007.                    there was a “terrific amount of damage to shops”.
  To address the issue, the mine had implemented a
                                                            The company reported a net loss of US$54.7              However, most of the houses were wooden so sur-
new, improved roster in late October for contracted
                                                         million (NZ$87.25m) compared with a net loss of            vived in one piece.
mine operators.
                                                         US$69m (NZ$110m) in 2007.                                     Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Murchi-
  The roster, identical to one at Macraes, was
                                                            Operating profit, before interest, income tax            son earthquake – it measured 7.8 on the Richter
expected to improve safety performance, mining
                                                         and unrealised gains and losses on hedges, was             scale and caused 17 deaths.
quality and efficiencies.
                                                         US$13.5 m (NZ$21.53m) compared to a US$34.1m
  The report said exploration at Reefton was chal-                                                                     Jean said there were a few “narrow escapes” in
                                                         loss (NZ$54.39m) in 2007.
lenging, with steep topography, thick forest cover,                                                                 Westport.
                                                            Revenue more than doubled during the year to
sparse outcrop and a veneer of glacial sediments,                                                                      “It was terrifying. Anybody who said they weren’t
                                                         US$217.2m (NZ$346.46m).
and high rainfall.                                                                                                  frightened must have had something wrong with
                                                            Gold sales increased 49 percent to 264,124 ounces.
  An infill drilling programme of 600m had been                                                                      them…
                                                         The average price per ounce was $822 (NZ$1,311),
completed. A revised resource model was being pre-                                                                     “When your parents get frightened, it’s pretty
                                                         an 18 per cent increase on the 2007 average of $697
pared at the Supreme prospect, south of the current                                                                 bad.”
mining area.                                                                                                           Afterwards everyone rushed home to check on
                                                            Production is expected to further increase this year
  Otherwise, the 2008 work programme had aimed                                                                      their families.
                                                         to between 280,000 ounces and 300,000 ounces.
                                                                                                                       “We made a beeline to see how my mother was.
                                                                                                                    When we got there the house was empty – she’d
                                                                                                                    gone to see how her mother was.”
                                                                                                                       No-one wanted to sit inside because aftershocks
                                                                                                                    continued, but nothing like the big one, Jean said.
                                                                                                                       Luckily she and her family were not injured in the
                                                                                                                    earthquake and received only a severe fright.
                                                                                                                       “I’ll never forget it. It was something so unusual
                                                                                                                    you couldn’t forget about it - it lives with you.
                                                                                                                       “It was a great event, I tell you. It was something
                                                                                                                    that only happens once in a lifetime, a big thing like
                                                                                                                                                                                 Jean Burrows, now 103, has vivid memories of the Murchison earthquake 80 years ago.
                                                                                                                    that.”                                                       (Photo – Amelia Langford)
                                                                                                                                     Worst since 1855                            At Murchison, a town of 300, most homes were           Tremors continued for the next fortnight.
                                                                                                                       The earthquake was the worst since the 1855             destroyed and people had to camp in tents or shel-          After five days, homeless Murchison residents
                                                                                                                    Wellington quake, and the first to cause many fatali-       ter in sheds. Food came in from Westport but, with       were moved to Nelson until conditions improved.
                                                                                                                    ties. It was centred in the Lyell Range, just west of      roads blocked by landslips, supplies ran low.               Karamea was cut off completely, and food sup-
                                                                                                                    Murchison, in the White Creek Fault which had been           Landslips claimed the most lives. One slip dammed      plies had to be flown in a fortnight later.
                                                                                                                    thought to be dormant.                                     the Matakitai River, forming a lake. Another swept a        The Buller Gorge road between Westport and
                                                                                                                       The fault moved 2.1m horizontally and 4.5m ver-         house and its inhabitants down the Maruia Valley in      Reefton was closed for 18 months.
                                                                                                                    tically. Where it crossed the Buller Gorge road, it        a mountain of rocks and rubble.
                                                                                                                    formed a 2m wall.                                            Heavy rain afterwards made conditions worse.

                                                                                                                        Buller Med waiting
 Westport free kindergarten head teacher Mary-Rose O’Loughlin with pre-schoolers
 David Crawley, 4, and Joseph Cotter-O’Dea, 4. (Photo – Amelia Langford)
                                                                                                                          time balloons
                                                                                                                     by Lee Scanlon                                            effective role in managing these patients via the

         Teacher shortage feared
                                                                                                                                                                               phone who have concerns or queries regarding flu
                                                                                                                       Routine waiting times to see a GP at Buller Medi-
                                                                                                                                                                               like symptoms.”
                                                                                                                     cal Service have ballooned to three weeks again –
                                                                                                                                                                                  Three Coasters – one from Westport and two
                                                                                                                     the same as last winter.
                                                                                                                                                                               from the Grey district – were currently awaiting test
                                                                                                                       In December, the wait was down to one week. By
by Amelia Langford                                         All early childhood centres must have 50 per cent                                                                   results for swine flu.
                                                                                                                     May it had doubled to a fortnight. It had now pushed
                                                         of their teachers fully qualified to remain licensed                                                                      “Given the changeable nature of the situation
  A Westport kindergarten head teacher is con-                                                                       out another week as winter illnesses hit, West Coast
                                                         by 2012.                                                                                                              regarding this influenza, these numbers are likely to
cerned about an estimated national shortage of                                                                       District Health Board spokesman Bryan Jamieson
                                                           However, Ms O’Loughlin said kindergartens                                                                           alter at short notice,” Mr Jamieson said.
early childhood teachers next year.                                                                                  said today.
                                                         already had to have fully qualified staff.                                                                                New Zealand remained in the ‘containment phase’.
  The Educator’s Union says staffing projections                                                                        Patients would also have to wait one to two weeks
                                                           Westport Free Kindergarten was encouraging                                                                          However, planning was underway to move to a “man-
for next year show the industry could be more than                                                                   for a routine appointment with a nurse.
                                                         parents to train as early childhood teachers.                                                                         age it” phase when required.
1000 teachers short.                                                                                                   Urgent same-day appointments remained avail-
                                                           Government should be more lenient in how many                                                                          While the number of cases of swine flu was
  Westport Free Kindergarten head teacher Mary-                                                                      able.
                                                         hours unqualified teachers could work, she said.                                                                       increasing nationwide, there were still relatively few
Rose O’Loughlin said it was already a challenge to                                                                     The practice currently had six GPs – two short -
                                                           Westport Early Learning Centre committee mem-                                                                       cases, but increasing instances of community trans-
find teachers.                                                                                                        and a full complement of nurses, Mr Jamieson said.
                                                         ber Mary Wilson said the Westport centre was not                                                                      mission.
  “We’re lucky here at the moment but if only one or                                                                   The board’s general practices had not been over-
                                                         fazed by the estimated shortage.                                                                                         The Health Ministry has changed its advice to
two teachers leave, then we could be struggling to                                                                   run with people with seasonal flu or those who feared
                                                           “I know there’s a shortage of early childhood                                                                       international travellers arriving in New Zealand.
find qualified staff…” she said.                                                                                       they had swine flu, he said.
                                                         teachers nationwide in our centres but we’re not                                                                         Only people with flu-like symptoms within four
  “It’s just because there’s so many early learning                                                                    “People with the flu have been phoning reception
                                                         worried. We’ve been covering our bases.”                                                                              days of overseas travel were now considered to be
centres out there now and there’s not enough people                                                                  as their first contact as recommended.
                                                           The centre had been covering its teachers’ train-                                                                   at risk of having the virus.
qualifying to cover the positions that come up.”                                                                       “The practice nurses have been doing a very
                                                         ing costs, she said.

by Lee Scanlon
                                      Terrace coal mine enters final week
                                                             “We still hold out hope we will be able to attract     removed, as would other infrastructure.                      Island Block contains about 5 million tonnes of
                                                          those guys to Spring Creek as well.”                         Solid Energy had to rehabilitate the site, ensure       semi-soft coking coal, similar to Spring Creek coal,
   Solid Energy is gearing up to close Reefton’s Ter-
                                                             In the meantime, they would stay on to decommis-       there was no risk of erosion and that the site was         suitable for export.
race underground mine next Thursday.
                                                          sion Terrace.                                             safe. It also had to continue monitoring water quality.      Century-old Terrace is Solid Energy’s smallest
   The company announced in April that Terrace was
                                                             Mine equipment would be redistributed to other            Solid Energy’s Reefton distribution centre, which       mine. It had been under review for 12 months prior to
no longer viable and would cease production this
                                                          Solid Energy mines, Mr Conaghan said.                     employed 10, would not be affected by the closure.         the closure announcement. At the time, Solid Energy                    A key to successful business…

                                                             “There’s a bit of kit down there. It’s been quite a    The centre processes, blends and distributes coal          said the closure was more to do with Terrace mine
   The mine employed 16 permanent staff and two
                                                          job doing an inventory on it all and deciding where       from Spring Creek and local private mines.                 being a small, marginal, underground mine than the
fixed-term contract staff before five workers moved
                                                          it will go.”                                                 Solid Energy would continue with a 12-month fea-        impact of the recession.
to Spring Creek mine, 45 minutes drive from Reefton,
                                                             Once the equipment had gone, workers would             sibility study into resuming production at Island Block      Terrace produced 45,000 tonnes of thermal coal a
in May.
                                                          seal mine access and switch off to allow the pits to      opencast mine, which had been in care and mainte-          year for the South Island industrial market. In recent
   Solid Energy communications manager Eammon
                                                          naturally fill with groundwater. Offices would remain       nance since 2002 when mining became uneconomic,            years, mining reached depths of 230m, creating con-
Conaghan said jobs were available at Spring Creek
                                                          on site in the meantime, but would eventually be          Mr Conaghan said.                                          siderable engineering challenges.
for other Terrace mineworkers who wanted them.

NOON TEMPS:                  KARAMEA                            WESTPORT                              TOMORROW:                  WESTPORT                                 GREYMOUTH                                 NELSON                         CHRISTCHURCH
                                11                                 11                                                               12                                        13                                      10                                 10

To top