In a move that builds on the growing momentum in Tasmania’s mining sector, Hellyer Gold Mines will soon start reprocessing tailings from previous mining operations at the Hellyer Mine on Tasmania’s West Coast.
Hellyer Gold Mines director Steve White says tailings from former mining activities will be reprocessed on-site, in the refurbished and modernised existing processing plant using modern technology and processes to extract the remaining minerals rather than breaking new ground.
“The existing tailings dam has roughly 9.5Mt of material containing high grade gold, silver, lead, zinc and Pyrite which will become fertiliser, iron and clean energy will be recovered by the new operation.
“The EPA has given approval to operate until at least 2028 and as the recovery operation proceeds any previous environmental damage and contamination will be repaired.
“Employees and contractors are currently working on the world-class processing plant to make it operational after six years under care and maintenance.
“When operating, tailings will be pumped from the tailings dam to the processing plant, where the remaining minerals will be extracted for export.
“Once the tailings are re-processed there will be a roughly 50% reduction in volume and the residue will be stored in a new, modern tailings dam on site. The existing tailings dam will remain as a lake once it’s emptied.” Mr White said.
Mr White said Hellyer Gold Mines is approaching the project in a very careful, methodical manner and is striving to earn and maintain the community’s support to operate.
“We are cognisant of our need to operate to the highest possible environmental standards and have implemented a very robust and comprehensive environmental management system. Further, we have commenced remediation work using local contractor’s on previous operators legacy issues.
“The project has a fully developed transport and animal protection plan and will be the first private project in Tasmania to use virtual fencing onsite. This system emits a high pitch sound when a vehicle approaches, scaring any animals away from the road.” Mr White said.
Mr White said Hellyer Gold Mines is employing as many local people and contractors as possible and it is envisaged that once the operation is up and running roughly fifty people will be employed full-time.
He added that many of the people currently working on site are former employees and they bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the plant’s construction and operation.
“During this whole process we have been overwhelmed by the support of Tasmanian businesses and Government.
“All the interactions we have had have been positive with everyone doing their utmost to help us get the project up and running.
“The aim is to commence production in September/October this year, once the processing plant is refurbished, commissioned and operational.” Mr White concluded.