Victorian Iron has met with landholders in Elmore to discuss its exploration plans and the impact on land in the region.By Elaine Cooney
A mining company has unveiled plans to search for iron ore west of Runnymede.
Victorian Iron met with landholders in Elmore last week to discuss its exploration plans and the impact on land in the region.
Victorian Iron senior geologist Benj Beatty, landholder liaison officer Sean Oakley and independent consultant David Morgan met with concerned residents at the meeting.
Mr Beatty said he was satisfied there was iron ore in the district due to State Government aero magnetic information from 10 years ago, used as a way to encourage investment to the area.
He said higher iron ore prices in recent years made the exploration worthwhile.
Mr Beatty said any possible mining in the region would be at least five years away, depending on the outcome of exploration in the region.
The mining company’s main site of interest is in the Shepparton area but other exploration sites are in Euroa, Rushworth, areas west of Bendigo and Runnymede.
Exploration work has not yet begun in the Runnymede district and the mining company sat with district residents to explain the exploration process and what impact it may have on their land.
The mining company believes minimal damage would be done to land during exploration, with three-inch wide and 18-metre deep holes being drilled and filled after investigation, with no chemicals used in the process.
Mr Oakley said the company would pay $200 a title for exploration and $20 for each hole it drilled on the property. If the mining company needed to enter the property outside of drilling times a $100 a day fee would be paid to the landholder.
One district resident asked if landholders had the right to refuse the mining company from entering their property and this was answered by Mr Morgan.
‘‘The law is that the company needs to have consent of the landholder to do what it needs to do,’’ he said.
‘‘If that consent is not given the two parties have to sit down and agree to compensation and if that doesn’t happen it goes to the mining warden.
‘‘The mining warden will then come in and arbitrate and mediate. If he is unsuccessful in doing that, the parties end up at VCAT.’’
The resident then asked if this was going to cost the landholder money to fight legal issues.
Mr Morgan said during the mining warden phase no money would be spent by the landholder and he had never seen it reach that stage.
Another resident asked what would happen if the mining company dug big holes in the ground and ran out of funds.
Mr Beatty explained that mining companies had to secure a bond with the State Government before beginning exploration work so such situations would be covered financially.
Mr Morgan explained the landholder agreement would be written up between the farmer and mining company.
Mr Oakley said when agreements were reached with farmers and the mining company certain conditions could be stipulated such as which entrance to use, hours of work and what you do not want to happen on your property.
Mr Morgan said he had only seen mining exploration going through a crop one time and the farmer was paid full compensation by giving him the highest grain price for his flattened paddock.
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