A directions hearing next Monday in Stawell, will set the wheels in motion for an independent panel to gather all information available regarding the Big Hill Enhanced Development Project.
State Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, has appointed an Inquiry Panel to consider all the information available on the Big Hill open cut proposal lodged in January last year by Stawell Gold Mines. This information includes the detailed Environment Effects Statement (EES) and community submissions received in response to that statement.
The initial Directions Hearing will be held in Stawell on Monday and the Panel Hearing, which is expected to take nine to 10 days, will commence the week of June 30. The Inquiry Panel is expected to make its report to the Minister within six weeks of the inquiry finishing.
A report on Stawell Gold Mines' proposal to mine two open-cut pits at Big Hill in Stawell should be with the Minister for Planning by the end of August.
In announcing that the application to mine Big Hill had moved into its next phase, Stawell Gold Mines General Manager Troy Cole said he understood that the government had received more than 350 submissions in response to the EES, which was on public display during April.
"Once again, I thank the Stawell community for embracing the opportunity to have its say on our proposal and for taking the time to become informed about what we see as an exciting project for the Stawell community," Mr Cole said.
"As this project moves through the government review phase, I would encourage you to maintain your interest.
"It is important that this project undergoes rigorous examination and planning to ensure its ultimate success for both the community and our company."
Jennifer Moles has been appointed chair of the four-person Inquiry Panel which will hold the Directions Hearing at 11.30am next Monday, June 2 in council's Western Highway offices.
The Directions Hearing will:
& Consider any preliminary or procedural issues relating to the Public Hearing.
& Explain how the Public Hearing will be conducted.
& Discuss the timetable and venue for the Public Hearing.
& Plan a tour of the project site which will include a limited number of submitters.
& Answer questions about the Public Hearing.
"The Public Hearing will also hear from Stawell Gold Mines, government agencies and other relevant organisations. All the information provided will be open to the public and be freely available," he said.
"The Panel will consider all written submissions whether the submitter appears at the Public Hearing or not."
After the Directions Hearing a timetable will be emailed to all submitters who returned a Request to be Heard form.
Mr Cole reaffirmed Stawell Gold Mines and Crocodile Gold's commitment to the Big Hill project which, if it proceeds, is expected to provide 80 to 100 jobs over four to five years and will include full reinstatement and rehabilitation of Big Hill.
Mr Cole said SGM would continue to consult extensively and provide any updates or information as it became available.
Questions about the Project can be directed to freecall number 1800 771 729 or email SGM.firstname.lastname@example.org.