News | 29th Jan, 2013

Councillors to learn more about mine plans

29 Jan 2013

The Northern Grampians Shire will discuss plans for a new mining project in Stawell.

The town's underground gold mine is set to close at the end of the year and retrenchments have begun.

However, the mine's operator Crocodile Gold has lodged a planning application expressing interest in restarting a project at Big Hill.

A proposal to mine the area about 15 years ago was met with opposition from the local community but Crocodile says the new plan places a greater emphasis on rehabilitation of the site.

Mayor Wayne Rice says councillors will visit the site this week to get a better understanding of the proposed development.

"There was a lot of opposition last time but I think that the big different between last time and this time is that people last time were left with the impression we were going to finish up with a great unsightly hole on the top of the hill but in what we've seen in the presentation from Crocodile [Gold] is that this time, they plan to reinstate the site into a better condition than it's in today," he said.

Meanwhile, a prominent green group says it is worried plans for a new gold mine could be rushed.

Environment Victoria's Mark Wakeham says the project needs to be well planned.

"The really important thing is that we don't start cutting corners and not doing environmental impact assessments properly or not applying proper rehabilitation bonds or not finding out what the community really thinks," he said.

"Because when you have a situation where there's a bit of desperation to get a project up, that's usually when you get a bad outcome."

The Stawell and District Residents' Association's Peter Baker says people from the town are watching closely to see if the plans will be different.

"A different project this time, as far as the performance of the company [goes]," he said.

"The company have been proactive and on the front foot right from the get-go on this and they're consulting with the community fairly widely.

"There'll be some close scrutiny, don't worry about that."