With a winning combination of local experience, established relationships and their own existing production facilities, an SA business is set to re-open opportunities from a historical gold deposit in the Adelaide Hills. By Megan Andrews
hen uncertainties riddle the global economy, gold often remains a safe bet.
For the inspired employees at local business Terramin, the odds are even better. They’re looking to mine the Bird-in-Hand gold deposit at Woodside, where a prosperous gold mine produced over 10,500 ounces of gold in the late 1880s. The team has the added advantage of Adelaide Hills experience and their own existing production facilities, having established and operated the Angas Zinc Mine at nearby Strathalbyn until its closure in 2014. Chief Executive Officer Martin Janes was with the company through much of its Angas mining days, as was Joe Ranford, Terramin’s General Manager and Chief Technical Officer. “We’re a small South Australian company and we know some of the issues after our work at Strathalbyn, but we also know that every community has its own specific concerns,” says Joe, who is a Hills’ resident. Back in the day, 17 gold mines operated in the area – all underground. This is a tradition that Martin, Joe and colleagues will continue, albeit with the safety and economies now available. Modern mining technology also means more ore can be located, accessed and extracted. “They used horses trotting in a circle to crush ore back then,” Joe laughs. “The amount the industry has changed is phenomenal.” A resource of 233,000 ounces of gold is already proven, but Joe says they’ve only explored the top 450 metres. “We haven’t gone down further because it’s expensive and we don’t need to. It’s a robust project with what we already know,” he says. “A higher priority for us is ensuring that the existing project can proceed without negative
ISSUE 03 RESOURCING SA Winter 2016
impact on the environment.” Extensive stakeholder consultation has confirmed this is in line with priorities of neighbours and the wider Woodside community. “Number one for us is a project plan sympathetic to the natural environment and considerate of locals concerns. Right now, we’re spending our resources on a huge environmental program.”
The team has planted 2500 native trees and helpers are assisting plant an additional 22,000 this winter, broadening the minimal native woodlands left from agricultural clearing This has involved an exhaustive study leading through to a comprehensive investigation of the area’s groundwater – including its interactions, flows and chemistry. As part of this, five bores were drilled, cased and capped to determine aquifer properties, permeability and water flows. “During the tests, 37 private bores were monitored to help understand the wider effect of pumping water from our bores,” Joe adds. It’s the most comprehensive groundwater study undertaken in the Western Mount Lofty Ranges catchment area, and has resulted in a groundwater management plan that will
completely seal the mine, leaving the water safely in the aquifer. Above ground, the whole team has pitched in to plant 2500 native trees, helpers are assisting with an additional 22,000 to be planted this winter, significantly broadening the minimal native woodlands left from prior agricultural clearing. “These native vegetation corridors will also provide buffers between our equipment and the neighbouring roads and properties,” Joe says. Being underground, the project will host little surface infrastructure, comparable to the facilities of neighbouring wineries. Processing and tailings equipment at the Angas site will be adapted and re-used by Bird-inHand, providing excellent operating economies. “Twelve trucks of ore will be transported to Strathalbyn each day, increasing local truck traffic by less than 10 percent,” says Joe. “These are the same size trucks as those on our roads now.” Joe is excited about what the project would do for the broader hills community and says it’s a fantastic asset. “We know the gold is high grade and the mine will have a very small impact on the surrounding area.” With the plan to develop a minimum five-year project, with the potential of mining continuing well beyond that time, Joe is looking forward to supporting local industries and the day the company can significantly add to their own crew. The project will directly employ 100 people between Woodside and Strathalbyn. More people will be employed indirectly through business generated by the mine. “We can train and employ a lot of people in a diverse range of areas, equipping them with skills they can also use in their future career moves.”
Published on May 18, 2016
Our Winter 2016 issue is full of invention and opportunity for South Australia - a world class community of resources sector entrepreneurs a...