$80m Rocky region mine project to create 180 local jobs
A RESURRECTED gold mine is on track to inject $80 million into a historic Rockhampton region town.
Expected to create about 180 local jobs, the Mount Morgan Gold - Copper Project is taking major steps towards a potential mid-year construction start date.
Director Tony James said the project was "well advanced", and expects the Rockhampton Regional Council's tick of approval on the Resource Development Application in a Priority Living Area in the coming weeks.
His confidence is backed in the RRC Planning Scheme, which recognises future mining at Mount Morgan as a "desirable outcome where community benefits are provided and impacts can be mitigated".
The mining lease is in place for the unique project, and an amendment to the previously approved environmental authority will be lodged this month to relocate the processing plant to Sandstone Gully.
A development by the state application awaits the Minister of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection's approval.
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"People are very, very positive in the overall positive nature of the project" Mr James said.
"Because the project does bring to the region is its initially a 10-year mine life, and it's potentially a 20-year mine life.
"There's an $80 million plant build at the beginning and it potentially brings $40-odd million a year into the community over that 10 to 20 years as you see in the feasibility study.
"And 90-95% of the work we need to do for this project is all Central Queensland based.
"We can get all the things that we need there, because the infrastructure is so very good, so it's just a great opportunity."
Carbine Resources have finalised negotiations to acquire the remaining 25% stake in the project from Raging Bull Mining Pty Ltd (RMB), giving the West Australian company 100% ownership.
Mr James said in addition to the expected 70 direct employees once operational, the project would create a "flow on" opportunity for contractors and sub-contractors including truck drivers, cement workers, steel and electrical fabrication workers.
While Carbine Resources have received some job applications for plant and equipment operators, Mr James said it was a "little early at this stage" to secure positions.
Mining operations at the historical site wrapped up after 100 years of mining between 1882 to 1992, but the Mount Morgan Total Mineral Resources was updated to 0.85M gold ounces, 7.9Mt pyrite, and 36kt copper (ASX: August 30).
The Gold - Copper project will reprocess tailings from the former project to extract copper sulphate, gold and unroasted iron pyrite. The latter was traditionally a hazardous by-product, but under the project Mr James believes it will become Central Queensland's ticket to the global trade, with a focus on the Chinese market.
The world's largest pyrite exporting mine is forecast to close in 2018-19, by which time Mr James believes the Mount Morgan project will be primed to meet the demand with an "identical" product.
About 13 truckloads a day are expected to be hauled to Gladstone via Bouldercombe, moving an average 200kt of pyrite per annum.
Carbine Resources representatives met with the Bouldercombe Progress Association on March 31 to discuss the project, particularly the increased traffic.
"We have quite a bit of work to do in that area, what we wanted to do was to reassure the community we are stepping through that process, and doing what's required from a regulatory point of view," Mr James said.
From a "technical, environmental, tourism, heritage and jobs in the region" perspective, Mr James believes the mine "ticks all the boxes".
"Where the project is challenging is where environmental legacy, overlaps with heritage legacy, overlaps with community enhancement and improvement," he said.
"This is why we have to step through this approval process and get through this project very carefully you have these overlapping areas which you don't normally see in a project.
"The plan is that the stakeholders generate a vision of what that place actually looks like and we start to work our way through the issues, and make it better.
"That will enhance the tourism significantly because it will be a place that people want to look at and visit."
Financiers are currently reviewing the feasibility study, and await the regulatory approvals.