The Armidale Express reports that the Hillgrove antimony and gold mine will re-open in March. Initially there will be 80 full time jobs but that is expected to reach triple figures before the end of the year.
And the best news is the bulk of those jobs will go to local people.
“The majority are local and the ones that aren’t will be moving here,” Hillgrove Mines chief executive Roger Jackson said.
“There will be no fly-in, fly-out workers except for the odd expert.”
Mr Jackson’s company Bracken Resources paid $30 million to buy the mine from Straits, which had not produced gold or antinomy from Hillgrove since 2009.
Bracken has since ploughed even more capital into improving the site and buying equipment. It is confident there are 3 million ounces of gold and 300,000 tonnes of antimony there to be mined.
At current prices that’s more than $4 billion in gold alone, but the money is already flowing locally.
“We’ve spent $50 million out there and a lot of that has gone to local contractors,” Mr Jackson said.
There were environmental concerns about the reopening mine because of downstream pollution on the Macleay River over Hillgrove's long mining history. Mr Jackson stated that his company had done everything possible to address these concerns.
“As with any mining operation environmental concerns are high on the agenda, especially in relation to water, but Mr Jackson said his company has done everything possible to deal with those matters.
These efforts include purchase of a microfiltration and reverse osmosis plant, costing more than $2 million, to treat water used by the mine.
From a local perspective, the jobs are welcome at a time when Armidale business is very flat.
Today's post on New England's History, History revisited - disease in early New England, provides a past perspective on Hillgrove.