The North Central Victorian Goldfields ground release saw Kirkland Lake Gold claim three blocks while Southern Star Exploration won the fourth.
More than $100 million in exploration expenditure will be spent on the four blocks measuring more than 1500 square kilometres.
Across the three blocks for which it was the successful tenderer, Kirkland Lake Gold will spend more than $90 million, while Southern Star will spend more than $10 million across its one block over a five-year period.
The successful tenderers will now progress through to the licensing stage, which includes a 21-day period for the public to make submissions regarding the licence applications.
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) Victoria executive director James Sorahan said the four blocks stretching from Fosterville east of Bendigo and north to Lockington sit in a highly prospective area.
“MCA Victoria is proud to promote best practice in Victorian exploration and mining by supporting community information and the industry to meet the highest community enjoyment and environmental standards,” he said.
“The tender process includes a special licence condition on indigenous engagement, and raises the bar on community consultation as part of the competitive tender process.”
The evaluation was conducted by an independent assessment panel, supported by two advisory panels assessing tenderer’s proposals relating to responsible minerals exploration and, for the first time in Victoria, Traditional Owner matters.
“Australia’s third-largest mine by production with the richest gold grade in the world in 2020, the Fosterville gold mine, is located adjacent to the area,” Sorahan said.
“New discoveries could lead to the development of new mines in the future, subject to environmental and community requirements.”
The Geological Survey of Victoria estimates there may be as much as 75 million ounces of undiscovered gold across northern Victoria, potentially bringing a boom to the region.