The West Coast's biggest sawmill has applied for the right to start mining for gold in a bid to protect the business during tough economic times.
Westco Lagan Ltd has applied for resource consents to mine for gold underneath its Ruatapu sawmill and neighbouring Department of Conservation land.
The company has sent applications to DoC, local iwi and Fish and Game, seeking their approval of the move.
Director Dean Sweetman says the company is looking for cash flow to protect the 90 jobs at the mill.
The application states the venture would be a small scale operation to make the most of the land and resources available to the company during the recession.