Looking for gold

It’s quite understandable that a resident might feel some alarm when they open their local paper and see an advertisement alerting them to the fact that a mining company wants to explore an area that includes their property.
It is entirely reasonable for that resident to want to know what is going on.
Unfortunately, if handling mining tenements isn’t part of your daily life, looking up the plan on the Department of State Development website might not answer the why, what and when of a particular site. General information is available elsewhere, but it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees.
The reality for the Macclesfield people living in the area covered by the Yandan Gold Mine tenement (expected to be approved this month) is that nothing will probably happen for some time, if ever.  The licence is permission to explore, not mine.
Exploration can involve various activities such as aerial survey work and desktop modelling.
In order to gain access to land to do anything else – such as drilling – the licence holders have to follow procedures under the Mining Act. They have to serve the appropriate notices and negotiate an agreement with the owner of the land.
Activities such as drilling require an environmental assessment and approval from the department.
Then, if minerals are discovered, it can take years to evaluate if the deposit is worth mining. Then the company has to go through the process of applying for a mining lease from the Government and that involves public consultation.
It doesn’t mean this never happens – the now mothballed Angas Zinc Mine in Strathalbyn and the copper mine at Kanmantoo and is proof of that – but it is a long process.
This region has a rich mining history going back to the late 1800s and, as a result of its geological profile, much of the Hills is covered by exploration licences.
This doesn’t mean the people of Macclesfield shouldn’t be concerned about what an exploration licence might mean.
But if they do push through with their planned public meeting later this month, inviting someone along from the mining department to join Greens MLC Mark Parnell as a guest speaker might be a good idea.