NQ Minerals believes there is enough gold mining expertise remaining in Tasmania to ensure that, if mining is viable and approved, Beaconsfield Gold Mine's workforce could include well above 90 per cent local workers.
Following the confirmation of a $2 million staged acquisition of the Beaconsfield Gold Mine, leases and infrastructure last week, NQ Minerals has started a strategic review of mining infrastructure and geology with a view to restarting mining, subject to departmental approval.
The company estimates the mine could create 50 jobs in the early stages, rising to over 100 in the long-term.
NQ Minerals chairman David Lenigas said improved technology and a significantly higher gold price has made the mine viable again.
"A modern 5-metre x 5-metre decline (access tunnel) will allow easy access of the latest and greatest mining equipment of today. And as technology changes, it will allow the mine to upgrade equipment to new technologies," he said.
"There is a lot of unmined gold ore in the mine area, not just at depth. The increased gold price makes what was uneconomic in the old days economic today.
MORE ON NQ MINERALS AND THE BEACONSFIELD GOLD MINE:
"The new technology is leading towards safer automated mining equipment and there is now a big push for switch out a lot of diesel-powered equipment to electric."
The proposed reopening of the mine includes a new decline from the surface to a depth of about 400 metres, with a length of about three kilometres - a redesign of the previous owner's plans from 2012, when the mine shut.
The new infrastructure would be located near the plant and not in the Beaconsfield township.
NQ Minerals anticipates jobs could become available from mid-2020, the processing plant could restart late this year and gold production at some stage in 2021.
The old mine shaft alongside the museum in Beaconsfield was in need of major repairs in 2012 and all underground mining equipment would have needed replacing which, coupled with a lower gold price, resulted in the decision to stop mining.
As The Examiner reported it, 2006:
The price has increased from $1500 per ounce in June 2012, to $2400 per ounce today.
Mr Lenigas said there was a lot of work to do before the project could move to the next stage.
"If we can achieve a late 2020 re-start of the processing plant, we will try, but there is a lot to do to achieve this," he said.
"They've only really explored around the Tasmania reef. There's the potential for the whole rewrite of the geology, now that geological technology has improved.
"There's a lot of potential that still needs to be assessed."