The Victorian Government will favour mining companies that can demonstrate a commitment to engaging with Traditional Owners and boosting local jobs in a release of ground for gold exploration.
State Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes made the announcement at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne yesterday.
The North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release will be open to a competitive international tender, with strong interest expected thanks to the success of Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine.
Production has soared at Fosterville in recent years off the back of exploration success – the mine is set to produce four times as much high-grade gold this year as it did in 2016.
For the first time, engagement with Traditional Owners will be part of the Victorian Government’s evaluation process and selection criteria for prospective companies.
Indigenous communities will be given the opportunity to assess each company’s ability to develop relationships with Traditional Owners and work with consideration of cultural heritage.
Symes said gold helped build Victoria’s wealth and the industry remained integral to creating regional jobs.
“The North Central ground release will be a huge boost for this sector – attracting companies who are determined to work closely with regional communities and the traditional owners of the land they will explore,” Symes said.
The Geological Survey of Victoria estimates that only half the gold that may exist in Victoria has been found over the past 169 years, putting the state in prime position for a second gold rush.
Victoria is Australia’s largest exporter of mining equipment, technology and services (METS). Victorian METS companies are at IMARC connecting to the global industry, thanks to the Labor Government’s support of the event.
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation group chief executive Rodney Carter said: “The mining industry and its investors now understand the value of social licence. We support the government’s commitment to deliver industry best practice for the benefit of all Victorians.”
Victoria’s growth in minerals exploration spending over recent years has outpaced other states and increased year on year.