Approval for Far North gold mining project
A TABLELAND gold mine capable of pumping more than $1 billion into the economy over 10 years has been given government approval to go ahead.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has given Mungana Goldmines Ltd approval to prepare an environmental impact statement for its Red Dome project near Chillagoe.
The proposal to redevelop the Red Dome site, which has been dormant since being shut down by Niugini Mining in 1997, now hinges on the company proving that its operations will not harm protected land nearby.
The Terms of Reference for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement, which must be submitted within two years, were signed off on last week.
"An important role of the EIS will be to assess if the mine extension can go ahead without impacting on the adjacent Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park," the Department of Environment’s deputy director-general Dean Ellwood said.
Mungana’s proposal includes restoring the site, which produced almost one million ounces of gold in its 11-year life, and build a production plant.
The project aims to extract about 23 million tonnes of copper, gold and silver ore from the open-cut site and a further 2.4 million tonnes of ore from underground.
Its economic statement stated about 120 jobs would be created during the two-year site redevelopment and production plant construction stage, which involves capital expenditure of $290 million.
When operating, the mine will employ about 400 workers and contribute $183 million to the state’s economy over its 10-year life.
Mungana promotes the Red Dome project as the largest gold exploration program in Australia in the past 10 years.
The venture hit a hurdle earlier this year when major shareholder Kagara was placed into voluntary administration, owing Mungana $3.1 million.
But Mungana has retained a strong cash position of $19.1 million to proceed with Red Dome.
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