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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Mining in northern Victoria

The Victorian Government has gone into the mining business and land from Swan Hill across to Wangaratta and south to Bendigo, taking in the Goulburn Valley, will be the target of exploration for gold, copper, molybdenum, lead and zinc.

May 13, 2014 3:03am

The Victorian Government has gone into the mining business and land from Swan Hill across to Wangaratta and south to Bendigo, taking in the Goulburn Valley, will be the target of exploration for gold, copper, molybdenum, lead and zinc.

Last week it allocated $15million in the 2014-15 Victorian State Budget for a program to drive exploration for minerals, particularly from the Sunraysia to Hume region, where deposits of gold and copper are thought to be.

The government will co-fund exploration work under the TARGET program with companies searching for new mineral resources with a focus on the state’s north-east, north and west, Victorian Energy and Resources Minister Russell Northe said.

‘‘We are investing now to build a strong and sustainable mining industry in Victoria that creates more jobs and makes a significant long-term contribution to the economy while protecting the environment, respecting the rights of landholders and working with other key industries like agriculture,’’ Mr Northe said.

Gowangardie mixed farmer Simon Wall, a member of the community steering committee for Victorian Iron’s mining exploration in the Caniambo/Gowangardie area, said with the exception of DEPI’s Benalla-based mines warden, local farmers had not had contact with the government.

He was surprised to learn the state was investing in drilling but said it made sense if they wanted to promote the establishment of mines and get employment going.

While a potential iron mine has been a controversy in the area, he took a relaxed approach to the news of new exploration, observing that for every 1000 exploration licences, only one mine gets built.

‘‘It’s of concern that companies pop up and grab that opportunity and make a quick dollar,’’ Mr Wall said.

‘‘If it’s a properly run company ... they probably don’t need the government.

‘‘The government’s looking for the (mining) royalties if you read between the lines.’’

Mr Wall said a working mine operated on his family property during the Victorian gold rush of the mid-1800s.

Mr Northe said under the TARGET initiative, grants would be available for co-funded exploration works including drilling and geoscience surveys.

‘‘An expert panel will provide advice on the granting of funds and the activities carried out under the initiative,’’ Mr Northe said.

‘‘Data captured by the Geological Survey of Victoria under the initiative will be made available online to other exploration and mining companies.’’

See TARGET priority map on Page 2.

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