Political optimism for Mt Morgan mine revival
HERITAGE Minerals’ plan to reopen Mount Morgan mine seemingly came out of the blue but behind the scenes it has received strong support from the region’s three levels of government towards making it a reality.
It was revealed in the 2020 Resources and Energy Major Projects report released this week that the Heritage Minerals’ $60 million Mount Morgan project had recently completed a positive, definitive feasibility study and was on the verge of becoming a committed project.
It was thanks to the revolutionary RECYN technology which had made capturing minerals in the mine’s tailings and cleaning up the waste water a financially viable prospect, with the project tentatively slated to start in late 2021 or early 2022.
Rockhampton Regional Council
Advance Rockhampton’s executive manager Greg Bowden said the reopening of the Mount Morgan Mine would be absolute gold for locals and the broader region if the project proceeded.
“Over the last year, Advance Rockhampton has had many positive conversations with Heritage Minerals and we are encouraged by the company’s dialogue on providing local employment and business supply opportunities,” Mr Bowden said.
“Local jobs for the Mount Morgan community is a focus for Advance Rockhampton and this project has the ability to deliver – so we are eagerly awaiting the company’s final steps towards being fully committed.
“Advance Rockhampton will be providing Heritage Minerals with supply chain identification services to assist local Rockhampton Region businesses get a foot in the door to potentially provide products or services to the project when Heritage Minerals is ready to press the gold button.”
The Queensland Government’s Department of Resources spokesperson said it had been working closely with Heritage Minerals to facilitate reprocessing of mine tailings at Mount Morgan.
“We believe it provides the best opportunity for rehabilitation, investment, and jobs in Mount Morgan,” the spokesperson said.
“However, the decision to progress mining activity is a commercial decision and at the discretion of the company.
“Mining operations could only recommence if the operation is in compliance with State environmental and safety requirements.”
The Department transferred the existing mining leases for the project to Heritage Minerals on September 30, 2020.
Mount Morgan is situated within the state electorate of Mirani, which is represented by recently re-elected One Nation MP Stephen Andrew, who said it was great news for Mount Morgan and also great news for Queensland.
“The technology has huge potential to superimpose itself for other sites throughout the state to trial this new process to create jobs and wealth for our state, it could not have happened at a better time,” Mr Andrew said.
“I have been fighting for this mine to re-open since I started as the Member for Mirani, because locals realised the potential.
“In its heyday the mine was the largest/richest gold mine in the Southern Hemisphere.
“I have always advocated for both the mine being restarted through Heritage Minerals.
“Their technology has now been proven over the past three years on similar sites in Indonesia, to not only to clean up the environmental legacy but to bring jobs into areas like the regional township of Mt Morgan.
“Now we just need to appoint a new mayor to Rockhampton and get tourism started back into the area as well.
“The dinosaur footprints in fire-clad caverns need to be reopened and when the new mine site boundaries are established, the mine tours should continue as well.”
Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said it was exciting to see Heritage Minerals’ plans to reactivate Mount Morgan mine progressing through the feasibility study stage.
She said there was proud history with the mine with the riches helping to build the majestic buildings Rockhampton featured on Quay and East St.
With gold mining changing so much over the years, she said it was great that it was viable for the tailings to be reprocessed while also cleaning up the mine’s toxic water.
Mount Morgan is situated in the Federal Electorate of Flynn, with the local member Ken O’Dowd joining in on the chorus of support for the project.
“Currently, Australia is the largest producer of gold in the world,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“The price for the precious metal remains relatively high as the world’s hunger for new gold mines has not yet declined.
“‘If the remaining ore body contains sufficient gold and silver to make the reopening of Mount Morgan’s mine financially viable, this would be welcomed news for the Mount Morgan community, the economy and the jobs that would be created.”
He acknowledged the other benefit for the reopening of the mine which was cleaning up two pits of toxic water.