5 Dec 2009

Gold-mining company confident of consents

9:55 pm on 5 December 2009

A gold-mining company granted a licence to commercially develop the old Talisman mine in Coromandel is confident it can get the necessary resource consents.

Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee has granted Heritage Gold a 25-year licence - the North Island's first commercial gold-mining permit outside of Waihi in 18 years - to open up the old mine at Karangahake, west of Waihi.

The Green Party is predicting stiff resistance from locals, and an uphill fight to get the required resource consents, but Heritage Gold executive director Peter Atkinson says the attitude towards mining is the best he's seen in his 25 years.

A large percentage of the Karangahake community has already had a chance to observe the mine underground, he says, and the reaction has mostly been positive.

'A long time coming' for Heritage Gold

Mr Atkinson says the chance to work the mine has been a long time coming. The company spent $10 million on exploration in northern Coromandel and lost all of its gold-mining properties after changes to the Crown Minerals Act in 1997.

Historically, the mine produced a million ounces of gold and three million ounces of silver, most of it between 1875 and 1919.

Heritage Gold, which is already in joint-venture talks with a Chinese company, estimates that, going by the current value of gold, the mine could produce up to $120m worth of gold a year.