As production finishes at Newmont's Waihi's Trio underground gold mine the miner will be forced to lay off staff due to a lack of work.
Trio is scheduled to finish production in July or August next year, however its Correnso underground operations won't begin operations until March 2015, leaving a gap of more than six months where underground work is limited, Newmont explained in a company statement.
Due to this lack of work the miner may be forced to let staff go.
Glen Grindlay, Newmont Waihi's general manager, said managers have been advising underground crews of the situation for the last few months.
"We are doing everything we can to retain a skilled and specialised workforce, but in the end it may be that we have a gap of several months during which there will be no work for most of our underground employees," Grindlay said.
"Our greatest asset is our employees.It is certainly in our best interests to keep our staff, and we will do everything we can to do so, but if Correnso does not start production until 2015 there will be very limited work for any underground staff."
However the miner is taking steps to try and retain staff.
"We want to re-employ the boys as soon as we can. In the meantime we have tried to give them as much of a heads up as possible so they don’t make a big financial commitment during that period."
He stated that delays in approvals played a large part in the gap between shut down at Trio and starting operations at Correnso.
"Now that we have the required consents we can get underground and commence the infill drilling that we have been unable to do from the surface. This will confirm the mine design and allow us to commit the significant funds required," he said.
"With input costs remaining high relative to a volatile gold price we need to make very sure we have one our homework before we start."
A short video on the Trio Gold Mine project