Deacons acted for Bendigo Mining Ltd (BML) in the company’s successful bid to recommence gold mining at Bendigo after a 50-year gap.
The underground gold mine, 600 metres directly beneath the city of Bendigo, was recently approved after nearly a decade of exploration and environmental impact assessments by the Victorian and Federal Governments.
Deacons partner Peter Barber has worked on the New Bendigo Gold project for about eight years.
“This has been a very exciting project to be involved with, and BML has a good environmental track record, so I am confident that it really has a golden future,” he said.
BML raised $115 million in July for the project, a record for a Victorian gold venture. This follows a $120 million exploration phase after Barber successfully represented BML at an environmental impact statement hearing for that stage of the project in 1999.
Apart from health risks for the local community, Barber said the primary environmental concern was the fact that the mine was being dug in rare ironbark forest, a habitat protected by both state and Commonwealth legislation.
In addition, the ore was discovered to be richer and more “nuggety” than at first thought. This means BML has to process the ore on site, which required further approval for the knocking down of another 40 hectares of forest.
In an ASX announcement, BML managing director Doug Buerger said production was now possible in the fourth quarter of next year. At full production, the mine will be the biggest underground gold mine in Australia.