OceanaGold has declared commercial production at its Didipio Gold-Copper Project in Luzon, northern Philippines. The company’s Board of Directors has reviewed the monthly operating metrics and cost profile, and determined that the effective date of commercial production was April 1. All revenues and operating costs will be reported to the income statement from that point.

The plant has produced 7251 ounces of gold and 3866 tonnes of copper to the end of the first 2013 quarter, which is in line with the forecast annual production rate of 2.5 million tonnes.

OceanaGold also shipped its first concentrate from the San Fernando port on the west coast of Luzon and the second shipment is imminent.

The company’s managing director Mick Wilkes says, “Commissioning of Didipio continues to advance well and we are beginning to realize the positive cash flow from the operation having made one shipment in early April and the next shipment expected soon.

“More than 13,000 tonnes of copper-gold concentrate is in storage at site or port and mining activities continue to perform well with a large inventory of ore on the ROM pad. Our transformation into a multi-national producer with lower costs continues to progress as planned and we are on track to declare commercial production at Didipio in the second quarter of 2013.”

The company has also announced drill results for the final drill hole of the current drilling program at the historic Blackwater Mine in New Zealand. The drill hole successfully intersected the Birthday Reef 1190 metres down hole and 250 vertical metres from the base of old mine workings.

Best intersection was 0.45 metres @ 31.8 grams/tonne gold from 1119 metres down hole. Results from this campaign indicate the Birthday Reef continues for at least 680 metres vertically below the last worked level of the Blackwater Mine. The company has increased the inferred resource at Blackwater by 250,000 ounces to 0.9 million tonnes @ 21 grams/tonne gold for 600,000 ounces.