Central Victorians have been encouraged to submit their feedback to the recent announcement of four lucrative mineral exploration licence applications that could unearth billions of dollars of precious metals.
The allocations are part of the North Central Victorian Goldfield Ground Release, with the community now able to comment on the applications of Southern Star Exploration and Fosterville Gold Mine ahead of them being assessed by Earth Resources Regulation.
Fosterville Gold Mine and Southern Star Exploration were granted the exclusive right to apply for a minerals exploration licence over blocks following evaluations of their tender submissions, including responsible exploration and for the first-time input from Traditional Owners.
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Minerals exploration is the first step in determining if any minerals are present, and explorers use low-impact methods to understand local geology and look for evidence of minerals over a large area, then typically focus on a smaller zone.
If an exploration licence is granted and a commercially viable deposit identified, a separate process toward mining would involve environmental assessment and extensive local engagement.
Earth Resources policy and programs executive director Jane Burton encouraged locals to attend one of the planned sessions to learn more about minerals exploration, landholder rights and the obligations of exploration companies.
"Exploration activities such as mapping, sampling and rock testing are the first steps in establishing if minerals are present. If development is considered viable, it takes many years to progress toward mining including gaining regulatory approvals."
"Minerals exploration stimulates economic activity and creates jobs. Should exploration licences be granted, the two companies will invest $100 million in their search for gold."
The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will hold online information sessions to update communities on planned minerals exploration and outline how they can contribute to the licence application assessment process.
Those interested can register to attend one of three online sessions at earthresources.vic.gov.au.
The sessions are planned for Thursday, November 18, Wednesday November 24 and Thursday, November 25.
The comment period for Southern Star Exploration's licence application closes on Wednesday, December 1, while the comment period for Fosterville Gold Mine's application will open on Wednesday, November 17 and close on Wednesday, December 8.
Comments can be made through the Have Your Say page on the Earth Resources website.
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