26 Mar 2012

Australian firm seeks to re-open West Coast mines

8:02 pm on 26 March 2012

Australian development company Strategic Elements has applied for permits to search for gold at the historic Golden Blocks Goldfield on the West Coast.

The goldfield is made up of seven mines spread over 131 square kilometres - and has had no modern mining on it.

Between 1896 and 1913, when production stopped, the mines had yielded nearly 40,000 ounces of gold.

Historically, the gold was only taken from visible quartz veins.

But Strategic Elements plans to explore areas around the old gold mines because it says there may be more gold there that would not have been visible.

Once permits have been received, the company says it plans an aggressive exploration programme of sampling, geophysics and drilling.

Green Party mining spokesperson Catherine Delahunty says towns in the area will be devastated once the historic mines have been industrialised - losing the opportunity for tourist dollars.

But Strategic Elements says it has a moral and legal obligation to care for the environment and intends to do that to the best of its knowledge.