NSW mining company begins search for gold near Yass and Murrumbateman

Hannah Sparks 31 August 2020 16
Sky Metals

Sky Metals says it has already found signs of gold near Murrumbateman. Photo: File.

The owner of Tallebung and Doradilla mines in NSW has applied for a six-year licence to search for gold across 141 square kilometres in and around Yass and Murrumbateman.

The Australian and New Zealand-owned Sky Metals lodged the application under its subsidiary company, Aurum Metals, and expects an outcome from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment within about two months.

If granted, the licence will give the Orange-based company exclusive rights to explore for gold in the area outlined in the application.

Sky Metals chief executive officer Mark Arundell said the company is aiming to begin work on the ground early next year, and that it has already found signs of gold near Murrumbateman.

Overlay map of area Sky Metals has applied to explore for gold.

Sky Metals has applied to explore for gold in the area highlighted by the continuous blue border. Image: Minview.

“The first phase of work would involve following up known mineral occurrences and old mines in the area,” said Mr Arundell. “So once we’ve negotiated access with the landowner, this would entail collecting rock samples from the old mines and sending them off for gold analysis.

“If we get encouraging results, we would ask whether we can return to do more work, which might be surface sampling – for example, soils – or a geophysics survey. Both are considered low-impact activities.

“If positive results are obtained from this work, we might consider shallow drilling as a follow up.”


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While landholders in NSW own the surface land of their properties, most resources that exist below the earth’s surface belong to the state of NSW.

However, that doesn’t mean exploration companies can walk onto private land without consultation.

Sky Metals would need to get permission from landholders through an access arrangement, which outlines when the company can access the land, which parts of the land they can work on, the types of exploration activities they can carry out on the land and compensation.

Also, exploration companies cannot explore land within 200 metres of a principal place of residence, or 50 metres from a garden without the written consent of the owner, under the Mining Act 1992.


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There are currently 1698 active titles – current applications, licences, leases, authorities, authorisations and tenements – for mineral exploration in NSW, according to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

However, an exploration licence doesn’t guarantee a mining or production lease will be granted.

According to government office NSW Resources and Geoscience “only a very small percentage of land that is subject to exploration licences ever proceed to production”.

Sky Metals would also have to purchase the land by negotiation to build a mine.

The following information is from NSW Resources and Geoscience:

What is exploration?

Exploration allows companies to find out the quantity and quality of resources and consider if they are worth pursuing a mine for. There is a rigorous approvals process in place for exploration activities and companies have strict requirements imposed on them to ensure land is progressively rehabilitated.

There are also separate and independent approval processes if companies proceed to a mine.

If there is an exploration licence over my land, can I still carry on my regular business?

Yes. However, if there is an access arrangement in place, both landholders and titleholders will need to act in accordance with that agreement’s terms and conditions. This includes any notification requirements.

How do I find information on any exploration titles in my area?

Information on areas under exploration licences, or applications for new exploration licences, can be obtained from the department’s website through the Common Ground web portal or through Minview. These websites contain extensive information on exploration and production in NSW.

Find out more about exploration and landholder rights here.

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.


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16 Responses to NSW mining company begins search for gold near Yass and Murrumbateman
Therese van Leeuwen Therese van Leeuwen 7:47 pm 03 Sep 20

Caitlin Nelson Alex Weaver - start digging in your back yard!! 😃

Mick Baird Mick Baird 7:32 pm 03 Sep 20

Kristof Muskrat must be something out there hey

Kylie Searl Kylie Searl 6:35 pm 03 Sep 20

Christian Searl - time to chat to Patto 😜

Kat Sychee C Kat Sychee C 6:06 pm 03 Sep 20

Shanon Sedawie try your luck? Haha

Antonietta Martiniello Antonietta Martiniello 5:06 pm 03 Sep 20

Luca Prosperi you should work for them

Daniel J. Fitzpatrick Daniel J. Fitzpatrick 4:13 pm 03 Sep 20

We have a mining site next to our property. The company has owned it for 30 years, they do no weed management, no erosion control, and yet we get the weed officer coming out to our place threatening fines, while 20 metres inside their boundary is serrated tussock and blackberry everywhere! Joke

Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 1:26 pm 03 Sep 20

Bring it on, more jobs for locals. Perfect timing given the current lack of jobs in regional areas. Good luck to them!

    Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 4:26 pm 03 Sep 20

    Michael Blythe the old jobs for locals mantra is a myth. The majority of the miners here are brought in from outside. They've taken up all the rentals and hotel accommodation.

    Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 4:27 pm 03 Sep 20

    Angela Hunter not always. As a sixth generation mining family member I can personally vouch for this. Thank you for your concern all the same 😁

    Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 4:28 pm 03 Sep 20

    Michael Blythe I can only speak from the local experience of the Majors Creek mine here in nsw. It hasn't been all sunshine and roses 😏

    Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 4:29 pm 03 Sep 20

    Angela Hunter yes that situation isn’t the greatest. I honestly thought they were going to try to get more locals involved.

Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 1:05 pm 03 Sep 20

Omg noooo!!! The Gold mine has ruined the sleepy little town of Majors Creek near Braidwood. Residents report noise and disturbance from blasting, the constant rumble of machinery, they've had several sediment spills into the creek and some of the miners they've brought in haven't exactly been a nice addition to the local community.

I'd recommend locals fight with everything they have.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 12:52 pm 03 Sep 20

The Canberra Region could do with some economic activity from large scale mineral extraction. The Newcrest gold mine at Cadia, near Orange has increased the prosperity of that region substantially.

There is also evidence that the Majors Creek goldmine near Braidwood has sparked an economic revival in that town.

    switch switch 2:32 pm 03 Sep 20

    Yeah, but it’ll ruin the grapes.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:38 pm 03 Sep 20

    I assume you mean mining could threaten the “cool climate” wine industry?

    There could be some local disruption but I am looking at the big picture where jobs and prosperity may come to people who don’t have the means to enjoy the very expensive local wine experience.

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