Mine site progress

Northern Grampians Shire Council remains optimistic about development potential that will be derived as a result of the Stawell Gold Mines Future Possibilities project.

The project, which aims to identify viable alternative industry use for the Stawell Gold Mines site, post closure, has now entered a second stage.

Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin, said the initial feasibility studies had been delivered within budget and timeframes and had revealed several concepts with strong potential for development.

"The Project Control Group has studied a number of relevant options, exploring a hydroponics enterprise, agribusiness, a training operation, landfill potential for the Wonga Pit and an international research facility," he said.

"These concepts will result in job creation and provide stimulus for the local economy."

Following its field study, the Project Control Group has structured project delivery into three management streams:

* Business case development for the hydroponics, agribusiness and training concepts.

* The licensing potential and identification of additional technical studies required for the potential Wonga Pit landfill option.

* Direct engagement with potential investors to facilitate the identified research facility opportunity and any other mining investment.

In relation to stream one, consultants have been appointed to undertake the works associated with the detailed assessment of the hydroponics, agribusiness and training concepts through a business case process.

Council's Team Leader Strategic Projects, Amanda Western, said the business cases would then be communicated to potential investors (both public and private) through the development of a marketing prospectus for each concept.

Council acknowledged the appointment of consultants SED Advisory and RMCG to undertake the necessary work.

The PCG has also requested advice on the likelihood that there is potential for a licence to be granted before investing in further development of the Wonga Pit landfill option (stream two).

As a result, the Project Control Group has reappointed Fox-Lane Consulting to undertake discussions with the Environment Protection Authority and Department of Environment and Primary Industries, to explore this issue and provide advice.

"Once the State Government's stance on the licensing likelihood is established, works associated with the identification of additional technical studies required for the potential Wonga Pit landfill option can be undertaken," Mrs Western said.

Northern Grampians Shire project officers and Stawell Gold Mines senior management will work collaboratively with potential investors to develop the opportunities in the areas of a research facility and alternative mining investment to utilise the existing assets Northern Grampians Shire Council, as part of stream three.

Mrs Western said once the project enters the investment attraction phase, council officers will scope any secondary projects in concert with any development which begins to show strong potential.

"This may include one or more of the commercial recreation projects and progress will be reported through the Project Control Group," she said.

Stage three of the project will focus on investment attraction.

Council had previously ruled out tourism development as an option for the mine site, believing it would not meet key criteria, being job creation and sustainability.

The Stawell Gold Mines Future Possibilities Feasibility Study has been funded by the Australian Government and the State Government of Victoria with contributions from the

Northern Grampians Shire Council and in-kind support from Stawell Gold Mines.

The study is independent of the Big Hill Enhancement Development Project (BHEDP) and the findings will be relevant regardless of the outcome of the BHEDP.

The latest update on Stawell Gold Mines Future Possibilities Feasibility Study project is available from Council's customer service centre in Stawell, or at www.ngshire.vic.gov.au

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