Another dormant Rocky goldmine could be revived
Near-record gold prices are triggering a rethink on the viability of Central Queensland’s long-dormant gold mines with mineral exploration activity anticipated to begin at the Mount Chalmers mine site within months.
Hot on the heels of November’s news that Heritage Minerals’ $60 million Mount Morgan gold recovery project could be reactivated before the end of 2021, Australian based exploration and development company QMines Limited has revealed its exciting plans for the Mt Chalmers project.
Situated about 17 km northeast of Rockhampton, the Mt Chalmers site is a high grade historic copper and gold mine that also contains zinc, lead and silver.
The project has an existing resource and a number of high priority exploration targets that provide substantial growth potential.
The deposit was last mined in an open pit scenario by Mount Morgan Limited between 1979 and March 1982 before closing due to low commodity prices.
Over a number of years, Australian boutique investment house Olive Capital, lead by director Andrew Sparke, has negotiated with the owners of the Mt Chalmers mineral exploration licences, Traprock Mining Limited.
In September, Mr Sparke created the company QMines before finalising the transfer of the licences from Traprock in late December.
As part of the deal, licences were transferred for the flagship Mt Chalmers project as well as three other projects in south east Queensland at Herries Range, Warroo and Silverwood.
Mr Sparke said subject to completing the listing and raising sufficient capital for exploration plans, QMines would look start to start exploring almost immediately thereafter, in late March or early April.
At Mt Chalmers, QMines holds an exploration licence for 22 sub-blocks (73 sq km) covering the whole Mt Chalmers mineralised area and recently applied for an additional 51 sub-blocks (167 sq km).
“The Mt Chalmers project is going to get a large amount of our focus and exploration spend,” Mr Sparke said.
“We have a two year plan where we are trying to identify additional copper and gold mineralisation.
“The plan is to conduct these exploration activities, with the main one being exploration drilling, in a batched way with a number of small drilling programs.”
Mr Sparke said their activity would initially target the central Mt Chalmers site.
“We’ve digitised a lot of the existing drilling and a lot of the mineralisation there is open in a number of directions around that existing Mt Chalmers pit,” he said.
“There are some other satellite deposits that are reasonably close to the existing pit that we’d like to drill test as well.”
The exploration activity at the Mt Chalmers site would have positive benefits for the community with QMines planning on working closely and respectfully with local land owners and harnessing local businesses.
He said they were looking for help with excavation works to prepare drill pads as well as field assistance and support for technical operations on-site.
If QMines was able to define new and significant mineralisation at Mt Chalmers over the next two years, Mr Sparke cautioned it usually took about seven years to open a mine.
This was due to an extensive feasibility study being needed to assess the viability of the mine to ensure it stacked up both logistically and financially.
Determining which stage a future mine sat in a typically seven year commodity price cycle also played a large role in the decision making process.