The Stawell community will have a greater voice on any proposal to revive the open-cut gold mine along Big Hill ridge under a new assessment process announced by the Victorian Government.
The process ensures that any new plan from Stawell Gold Mines Pty Ltd addresses issues including public health risks, noise and air quality.
A proposal to create an open-cut gold mine at Big Hill was rejected by the Victorian Government in 2014 due to health and environment concerns.
Under the overhauled process, the state’s mining regulator will establish an independent expert panel to conduct information sessions, gather written submissions, hold public hearings and make recommendations – reflecting the advice of the 2014 Environment Effects Statement (EES) assessment.
Any new proposal would need to be consistent with the previous project assessed in 2014. Should the project’s scope change, the company’s proposal may need to be referred to the Minister for Planning to determine if a new EES is required.
The Vic Government is also establishing a grants program to fund community legal education and assistance services for local citizens and groups who want to take part in the Big Hill proposal assessment.
Local residents will be able to engage in community legal education workshops, information sessions and guidance on drafting submissions.
Earth Resources Regulation will continue to monitor the site and conduct regular inspections.
More information on the assessment process can be found at http://earthresources.vic.gov.au/earth-resources-regulation.