OceanaGold is downplaying reports of "massive blasts" in recent weeks from Waihi East residents living above the underground mines.

Production blasting is scheduled between 1pm to 2pm while underground development blasts, which are smaller than production blasts, are scheduled between 7am to 8am and again at 7pm to 8pm.

The company offers email or text message blast notifications to residents, who generally know to anticipate them. However they say blasts have been unusually strong in recent weeks.

"They've been massive," says Sheree Stockman who lives with her young family in an old villa on Barry Rd. "Friday was really bad, one of the worst.


"I'm never usually home for the 2pm [blast] and we were outside on the lawn when it happened and even then got a bit of a shock. The children were like 'woah that was a big one'."

However Sheree says the event didn't worry her.

"We're pretty used to it."

Pat Savage, 86, lives six houses away from the centre of the underground activity and thinks it's because she has a brick house that she doesn't feel anything.

Seven years ago the mining company did an extremely thorough survey of her house, noting any cracks in the building or concrete, and she signed up to receive regular compensation payments if the blasts registered over a certain magnitude.

"The pictures don't move, I don't even have to straighten anything, and none of the plates on the shelves are secured."

She got solar panels installed free through the company, has bought a new dishwasher for her daughter, and two months later a replacement one when her own packed up.

"The money is always a help. My friend who is just outside the zone told me I shouldn't take the money but I did, and got a cheque for $750 which was the start of it."


One organisation that operates above the mines did not want to be identified, saying the mine supported them well and touched base very often, and are responsive.

A spokesman said blasts were noticeably stronger within the last three months.

"I don't know if they are stronger according to the website but to the physical feeling underfoot, they do appear to be in general a higher intensity and rumbling of the ground more evident and obvious.

"We don't have anything that would resemble the feeling of an earthquake, we do have a rumble like the beginnings of an earthquake.

"They last for the count of 1001, 1002, 1003. When we are in a quiet office we can tell a difference," OceanaGold spokesman Kit Wilson says.

"For several months we have been working in Correnso South. In the last few months we have returned to Correnso North. This means that while the vibration levels perceived on the surface have been well within consent limits they may be more noticeable after an absence when we were working in other areas of the mine."

OceanaGold has bought 130-140 properties in Waihi with a mitigation programme for residents subjected to blasts.