Two mining companies will begin an aerial survey of the exploration licence area on the old Orara goldfield in northern New South Wales.
Centius Gold wants to re-establish a mine near Coramba while Altius wants to mine at Karangi, The Coffs Coast Advocate reports.
A third company, Anchor Resources, has proposed a mine at Bielsdown, 15 km from Dorrigo.
Pilot Paul Rogerson of Thomson Aviation has been enlisted to help conduct the research and will be flying on behalf for Centius Gold and Altius Mining.
He said he could begin the flyover as early as Thursday but expected Friday to be the most likely start date, with about four days needed to complete the survey.
Centius Mining managing director John Slade, told The Advocate aerial magnetic survey would provide an image of the magnetic material underground.
“When we get the results back it will give us a better definition of our target,” Slade said.
“It is non-invasive and there are no land access agreements required.
“It is a very broad tool and the fact it goes over someone’s house does not imply mining.”
He said last week while drilling could begin soon after the survey, dependant on favourable results, it could take five years before the drilling led to a mine being opened.
Altius Mining said in a report on its Karangi copper and gold mining project that the company is planning copper production from Mt Browne in 2011.
The company’s $12 million public float has just closed, with some funds expected to go towards developing the open cut mine at Karangi.
The mines were previously underground operations when in production over a century ago, but are now set to be open-cut.
The plans have been met with criticism from some local environmentalists, with campaigner Judith Melville raising concerns about the possibility of toxic chemicals in mine tailings reaching river systems in the high-rainfall environment of the region.
She described the State Government’s regulations on tailings dams as woefully inadequate.