20 Jun 2012

'New gold rush' in Central Otago

6:40 pm on 20 June 2012

The opening of three gold mines in Central Otago is being described as a new gold rush.

The price of gold has more than doubled in the last five years to more than $2000 an ounce.

Glass Earth Gold chief executive Simon Henderson says that has enabled his company to shift into gold production, with two small mines already operating near Alexandra in central Otago.

Mr Henderson says a third mine will begin by the end of this week, bringing the workforce to 20.

Another company, L & M Mining, has in the last three years begun a 24-hour mine operation at Earnscleugh, and a gold dredge has begun operating in the Clutha River.

Central Otago mayor Tony Lepper says it is exciting for the region to be experiencing a fresh gold rush.

Meanwhile, a gold geologist says the company opening the mines in central Otago is pioneering a new approach to exploration.

Professor of geology at Otago University Dave Craw say Glass Earth's approach is clever because the easier alluvial gold production near the surface is paying for a harder search for a big deposit.

Professor Craw says it is likely there is another Macraes-sized deposit in Otago, but it is not certain that anyone will find it.