Two centuries of gold mining in western Victoria is set to continue, with six companies investing in the search for copper, gold and other metals in the region, bringing jobs and a boost to local communities.
Victoria’s Minister for Resources Tim Pallas said the companies had successfully progressed through a tender process giving them the exclusive right to be considered for minerals exploration licences in an area known geologically as the Stavely Arc.
The six explorers are a mix of local companies, some with planned overseas investment, will share in TARGET minerals exploration grants of over $2 million, and will likely spend more than 10 times this amount.
While there is a way to go to determine if commercial mineral deposits exist and if development is a possibility, low impact exploration – which includes activities such as sampling, surveys, mapping and analysis – could start next year – generating expenditure and jobs in local communities.
If exploration is ultimately successful, mining could bring a boom to western Victoria – local investment could top $2 billion for a medium sized gold or copper mine and create in the region of 800 jobs.
The Stavely Project is trialling a new approach that will see closer engagement with local communities to ensure that minerals exploration is balanced with other land uses. Explorers can only access private property with the consent of a landholder or compensation agreement, and their activities are carefully regulated.
The Grampians, State Parks and wilderness areas are off limits, and the tender also excluded coal and gas.
The exploration activity at St Arnaud is being undertaken by Stawell-based Navarre Minerals, who received a more than $600,000 TARGET Exploration Grant in 2016.
Navarre Minerals is progressing its hunt for gold through their flagship Irvine Gold Project