Orange’s Cadia gold mine is open again, but collateral damage hits farmers

Mining has restarted at one of Australia’s largest gold mines in New South Wales after a three-week suspension.

Newcrest Mining announced that employees had resumed underground operations at the Cadia gold mine near Orange after they were evacuated four weeks ago when instability was detected in a ventilation shaft.

In a statement, General Manager Aaron Brannigan said the vent repairs had reached a stage where it was safe for personnel to return to underground operations.

“The resumption of mining was subject to a strict safety test and response program, with production ramping up over the last few days,” Brannigan said.

During the closure, the mine said production was unaffected and drew on its reserve to maintain production, but local owners had not enjoyed the same protection.

Meters from the damaged axis, Cadia Road is the main access route to Orange for residents and will be closed for several more weeks.

Road closed sign and closed road barriers across the bituminous road
A section of Cadia Road will remain closed for several more weeks as a precaution.(ABC West Central: Joanna Woodburn )

Work to repair the road for damage from mine vehicles will only begin once backfilling of the damaged vent is complete.

Farmers were concerned about the potential impact on groundwater because the vent intersected an aquifer that dumped water into the well.

The honey industry was also affected

One of Australia’s largest beekeepers was concerned that the road closure could also hamper their operations at a time when the varroa mite posed a major threat.

A close-up of honey bees.
Goldfields Honey usually puts some of their hives in a state forest that borders the road that is currently closed.(Supplied: Stuart Bryce)

Jon Lockwood of Goldfields Honey said that each October, the business typically places hives in a state forest that borders Cadia Road.

He said putting his bees elsewhere in New South Wales was not an option at the moment.

“Resources are a huge issue right now in the beekeeping industry, especially with the varroa mite threat at our back door,” Lockwood said.

“We’re going to have to be as close to home as possible for surveillance.

“The whole situation is very worrying to me.”

golden outlet

Newcrest Mining’s latest financial report did not indicate that the mining halt had any impact on the company’s earnings.

Cadia produced more than 560,000 ounces of gold and around 85,000 tons of copper in the year to June 30.

That was lower than for the same period in 2021.

The report stated that Cadia’s lower operating and financial performance was due to equipment replacement and upgrade, which was completed in November 2021, and an expected decline in grade.

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