A $200m mine employing 350 people is being proposed over major historic gold prospecting areas about 120km north of Richmond in North Queensland.
A $200m mine employing 350 people is being proposed over major historic gold prospecting areas about 120km north of Richmond in North Queensland.

New gold rush set to create 350 jobs

A $200m mine employing 350 people is being proposed over major historic gold prospecting areas about 120km north of Richmond in North Queensland.

Venturers behind the proposal include Queensland coal billionaire Chris Wallin.

If the Woolgar project proceeds - which partly hinges on a mining lease now being sought - it will be the next big gold mine in Queensland with resources of more than two million ounces.

The company proposing the mine is Strategic Minerals Corporation Pty Ltd controlled by Mr Wallin and Brisbane accountant Paul Whimp.

A map showing the location of the Woolgar Gold Project. Image Strategic Minerals Corporation
A map showing the location of the Woolgar Gold Project. Image Strategic Minerals Corporation

Mr Wallin is an ex-government geologist who founded QCoal in 1989, developing coal mines in the Bowen Basin, including Sonoma and Byerwen.

Mr Wallin's QGold Pty Ltd led a takeover of Strategic Minerals where a small number of shareholders last year objected to the corporate regulator, claiming the 50 cents a share price had undervalued the company, although this was disputed by Mr Wallin.

Strategic already holds a number of mining leases and exploration permits for the Woolgar project.

It is now seeking a further lease to allow for the construction of processing plant, run of mine pads, offices, dams and potential accommodation.

According to Strategic's lease application, the primary resource is its Blue Vein South deposit on Middle Park Station, but other nearby deposits include Soapspar, Camp Vein, Grand Central, Explorer and Lost World.

The application stated Blue Vein South had increased considerably since other leases were granted recently.

"Considering these resources, the currently proposed extraction rate of two million tonnes run-of-mine per annum and the required time to complete the necessary rehabilitation activities, a term of 25 years can easily be justified in this case," the application said.

Plans showing the layout of the mine and processing plant for the proposed Woolgar Gold Project. Image: Strategic Minerals Corporation
Plans showing the layout of the mine and processing plant for the proposed Woolgar Gold Project. Image: Strategic Minerals Corporation

It stated the project currently employed three full-time staff and up to 10 contractors and consultants, but that number was expected to increase to about 350 employees.

"It is the intention of Strategic to source these individuals from the local region area where possible and encourage all contractors engaged on the project to adopt a comparable approach," the application said.

The remote Woolgar area in the Gregory Ranges was the scene of a gold rush in the 1880s as well as claims of a Woolgar massacre of Aborigines. It is also near the former Kidston township which in the 1980s hosted Australia's largest gold mine and is now being developed into the site of a $1bn clean energy hub, including a pumped storage hydro-electricity project.

Originally published as NQ gold rush set to create 350 jobs



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