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A golden opportunity

Monday, 18th March, 2013

By Erica Visser

A small reef gold mine near Mannahill that is expected to open within two months will provide jobs for about 30 people - and the owners are looking to Broken Hill.

South Australian company New Milo Mining will head the project, 25 kilometres south of Mannahill in the old Wadnaminga goldfield.

It will have a lifespan of five to 10 years, the company said.

New Milo Mining is in the process of seeking underground miners and will soon put out a call for production technicians.

Director Steve Sickerdick said that he hoped to use Broken Hill for staff and materials.

"I see Broken Hill as an ideal place for us, to be honest. It is the closest place to the mine. The next would be Adelaide which is a good four and a half hours away," Mr Sickerdick said.

"The other benefit is that Broken Hill is full of people who understand mining and there's no real resentment to mining.

"As far as numbers go, when we're operating this mine flat out it'll take about six miners underground constantly, with shift-on, shift-off, a total of 12 on the books.

"Similarly up on the surface there will probably be around six at one time. There will be a total of at least 15 workers at each given time."

Mr Sickerdick said that it was hard to determine exactly how much of the metal was underground, but tests had proved it viable over the last 18 months.

"What I can say is the deposit hasn't been fully defined as far as tonnage and grade go but we'll be processing 10 tonnes per hour 24 hours a day.

"The big problem with trying to prove these things by test drilling is that it actually costs more than to go into production.

"What we've done to reduce the risk is gone underground and looked in 3-D and we've sampled it and processed it. We assume there's a lot more there but we don't know.

"One of the advantages is that it's already fully approved."

The mine has not been in a production since the late 19th century when it closed due to the harsh conditions.

Mr Sickerdick said abound 400 people lived there then, but the town died off when it was decided that the grades of the mineral were too low to continue extraction.

"The conditions were very poor and there was no water and no timber for steam production, so everything was very manual," he said.

"The grades they needed for gold per tonne were very high so a lot of them tried and failed because they just couldn't survive there.

"What was too low a grade for them is perfect for us. With modern machinery, air-conditioned vehicles and nice comfy camps, it's more than suitable."

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