Victoria’s resources minister has confirmed local prospector GBM Gold has applied to renew its mining licence at the Kangaroo Flat site.
The current exploration licence expires this month, although the site hasn’t been mined since 2011, and the company recently claimed it was still 12-18 months away from resuming prospecting.
The state’s mining regulator, Earth Resources Regulation, will assess the licence application and advise Resources Minister Wade Noonan, who has final responsibility for approving a licence.
The government transferred the mining and exploration licences from former site owner Unity Mining to Kralcopic – a subsidiary of Bendigo-based company GBM Gold – last year, on the condition the company, rehabilitate two evaporation ponds at Woodvale within two years.
The evaporation ponds store water pumped from historic mine workings that has absorbed salts and other heavy metals from the surrounding rock.
Kralcopic in May lodged a work plan variation to ERR, which included rehabilitation options for the ponds, after a previous application did not meet regulatory requirements.
ERR is currently seeking advice from Environment Protection Authority Victoria to aid its assessment of the work plan variation application.
It’s understood the current work plan variation will have no influence on a mining licence decision.
Minister Noonan said the government held recent discussions with local community representatives to solicit views on the ponds.
“Community feedback on rehabilitation work and site conditions is being considered as part of the work plan assessment,” he said.
GBM Gold last week announced the $6.2 million sale of its gold processing facility at the site.
The company plans to enter into an agreement with other Victorian ore-processing facilities – three of which are located in Inglewood, Maldon and Ballarat – to process material.
The processing plant, which was purchased by Australian Mining Equipment Exporters Pty Ltd, will be dismantled and its parts exported to Guinea, West Africa, in the second or third quarters of 2018.