GOLD RUSH: ‘Every man and his dog is looking’
A MINING company wants to take advantage of a gold rush across New South Wales by using new technology to explore historic sites in the Tweed.
Gold Belt Pty Ltd has applied for a licence to search for Group 1 minerals over a 118sq km site 2km east of Murwillumbah.
Some of the former sites Gold Belt wants to re-explore are more than a century old.
Geologist Mart Rampe, Gold Belt's technical agent and manager, said the company was one of many joining the gold rush in NSW as prices near US$1900 per ounce ($1878.40). Silver prices are about US$23 per ounce.
"That area we've applied for covers a bunch of old gold prospects. Some are in excess of 100 years old," Mr Rampe said.
"What we've done is applied for ground that covers areas of interest because of the history, in conjunction with the overall geology of the application area.
"It's been attractive in NSW for some time and that's because the gold and silver prices have increased dramatically over the last year or so.
"Every man and his dog is out there looking for gold and silver."
Exploration will include taking rock and soil samples, conducting surveys and measuring magnetic fields and electrical conductivity. Limited digging is involved.
Mr Rampe said an Exploration Licence Application (ELA) 6115 had been lodged after NSW Government mining records were examined.
"Commodities like this go through a number of cycles and when prices are high people start looking again. The economics of exploiting a resource changes pretty significantly," he said.
"Ten years ago the price of gold was only about US$3-400.
"There's a dramatic difference in the price and then people start looking at old prospects like these and saying 'oh crikey'. If we apply new economics and new processing techniques, maybe there'll be something there worth looking at."
Mr Rampe said "hundreds" of ELAs had been lodged in NSW in the last year, but the government's online MinView platform only shows the one application near Murwillumbah.
He expected the ELA would be granted "without any dramas", allowing Gold Belt to "zero in on areas of interest", with the permission of any affected property owners.
Mr Rampe said widespread community consultation would occur if the company was granted the licence.
"If we find the areas is of real interest and we start putting a lot of money into it we start alerting property owners," he said.
"We've got people interested as investors."
Mr Rampe expected the ELA would be granted next month.
Historic records of Tweed gold mining available digitallyindicate there was limited success.
In a 1960 letter about the resources in the Tweed Valley, C.ST.J Mulholland wrote that "minor gold deposits are known in several parts of the Tweed".
"The records suggest that none of the gold-bearing localities … ever gave very renumerative results," the letter read.
"The older rocks of the area have a number of quartz veins and reefs associated with them, and traces of gold may be present in such areas."
The letter identifies areas around Murwillumbah as potential sources of gold.
Originally published as Tweed gold rush: 'Every man and his dog is looking'