Regional communities in Western Victoria are set to benefit from up to $20 million in new mining exploration investment following the announcement of a successful tender process for the Stavely province (which holds prospects for gold, copper and other metals).
Victorian Minister for Resources, Tim Pallas, announced the companies that have 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 and will share in TARGET minerals exploration grants of over $2 million, yet the Government forecasts that they are likely to spend more than 10 times this amount. The successful applicants include: Westrock Minerals, Stavely Minerals, Gippsland Prospecting, Century Minerals, WIM Resources, and P.S and G.F Forwood.
The announcement follows several years of detailed geological surveys, community engagement and land use assessment culminating in the tender application process. Mr Pallas said that if exploration is ultimately successful, local investment could top $2 billion for a medium sized gold or copper mine and create 800 jobs in the region.
“If there is gold or copper in the Stavely Arc, these explorers will find it – which could lead to a major mining boom in western Victoria,” Mr Pallas explained.
“There are strict conditions these companies will need to adhere to before they get the right to explore – which includes approval from landowners and extensive community consultation,” he added.
According to the licence, the Grampians, State Parks and wilderness areas are off limits, and the tender also excluded coal and gas.
Megan Davison, Executive Director of the MCA said that this represents a great opportunity for mineral development in Victoria – generating wealth for all Victorians, in particular, the regional communities.
“The mining and mine equipment, technology and services (METS) sector contributed approximately $13.6 billion to the Victorian economy in 2015-16 – representing four per cent of the state’s total economic activity and supporting close to 121,700 jobs,” she commented.
“These companies now have exclusive rights to apply for exploration licences over one or more of 11 blocks offered through the tender and receive over $2 million in TARGET minerals exploration grants that are likely to leverage up to $20 million of exploration expenditure.”