Austmine Regional Victoria Roadshow Review
By Sheldon Varcoe, Membership & Communications Manager, Austmine
From 23rd – 25th September Austmine took to the road to visit the regional mining hubs of Ballarat, Stawell and Bendigo. Across three days, Austmine’s Business Adviser, Dale Thompson; Chair, Mark Read and Membership & Communications Manger, Sheldon Varcoe, hosted networking events and met with local miners and suppliers in regional Victoria.
The purpose of Austmine’s Regional Victoria Roadshow was to:
- Understand and share the opportunities and challenges for businesses operating in the Victorian gold fields;
- Provide a platform for METS companies to hear about the latest updates on local projects;
- Create an avenue for local companies in the mining industry to network and develop business.
First Stop – Ballarat!
The first stop of our trip was to find out the latest updates at Castlemaine Goldfields. Castlemaine Goldfields is a gold explorer and producer with five significant tenements in Australia’s historic central Victoria gold belt, collectively covering over 350 square kilometres. Underground mining and ore processing restarted at the Ballarat tenement in 2011 and is currently producing approximately of 46,000 ounces of gold per annum. Current focus areas for the operation include extensive drilling programs, extension of their existing tailings dam, planning and design of a new storage facility and optimising gold extraction.
Gekko Systems is a global provider of innovative minerals processing plants and equipment, with a focus on energy efficiency and environmental outcomes. The team provided a fantastic tour of their world-leading facilities, which have grown substantially in recent years. A major highlight was to see their new biodigester that helps turn waste into renewable energy, which is set to revolutionise a number of industries.
Federation University has an impressive engineering faculty that is renowned for providing significant expertise to the local mining industry and METS sector. Key focus areas for the university include blasting operations, tunnelling, underground stability and digital mining.
Austmine then hosted an evening event in Ballarat, which featured a terrific presentation from Elizabeth Lewis Gray, Managing Director, Gekko Systems who outlined their technologies and discussed the levers of innovation in the mining industry. Stephen Jeffers, GM – Victoria, Castlemaine Goldfields also presented, delivering an insightful overview of their mine and processing activities, noting their key priorities when engaging with the supply sector.
Second Stop – Stawell!
Austmine travelled to Stawell on Tuesday 24th September to visit the team at Navarre Minerals. Navarre Minerals is creating value from a portfolio of early to advanced stage gold projects in Victoria, with significant investment delivered and impressive gold grades being found in exploration activities. Drilling is currently the major priority for Navarre Minerals, with the long-term aim to develop a number of significant projects throughout Stawell, Ararat and Bendigo.
The Stawell Gift Hall of Fame was the incredible venue for that evening’s Austmine networking event. The building hosts amazing memorabilia from the Stawell Gift, which is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious foot races, dating back to 1878.
Austmine welcomed over 30 guests for the event, with a presentation from Geoff McDermott, Managing Director, Navarre Minerals as the highlight. We were pleased to see the substantial support from the local mining industry and community, with great attendance from the Stawell Gold Mines, Navarre Minerals and the Northern Grampians Shire Council.
Last Stop – Bendigo!
The team at Safescape welcomed Austmine to Bendigo, providing an update on their global growth in both underground and open-pit mining. One of the trip’s main highlights was the opportunity to see Safescape’s Bortana EV, which is a highly durable, mine ready electric vehicle specifically developed for the requirements of the industry. It is set to deliver numerous benefits for underground mining, including low maintenance cost, high up time, zero emissions and diesel particulates, low heat generation and safer operational controls.
Next up was a meeting with Deepcore Drilling who have established themselves as the leader in underground mobile, acoustic drilling and deep directional drilling. They also have extensive operations across the east coast of Australian and Papua New Guinea, including in underground gold mining, rail projects and complex urban sites.
Our final networking event for the trip featured a terrific presentation from Don Macdonald, CEO, Deepcore Drilling. He provided an overview of the challenges and opportunities of operating in the local region and touched upon their significant innovations, including a sound-proofed shed for drilling to ensure equipment utilisation around the clock while minimising disturbance to local residence, and unique drilling techniques to gain greater ore information.
We’ll be Back!
Austmine’s visit was an overwhelming success and regional Victoria’s gold industry is very buoyant. Local suppliers provided a glimpse at the world-leading capabilities and highly innovative companies that can be found in the METS sector, with the collaboration with gold mining companies especially important for solving challenges and providing smart solutions.
Austmine is here to support METS communities around the country and we will be back to regional Victoria very soon!
In the meantime, keep up to date with our events and activities at www.austmine.com.au/events.