Aurelia Metals has welcomed the approval of plans to potentially increase production at the Hera Mine, near Nymagee.
However the company is yet to commit to the proposed expansion saying a decision is yet to be made, but that the modification to its approval was sought “in anticipation of a future decision to proceed”.
If it goes ahead, the expansion would mean an increase in annual production from 355,000 tonnes to 505,000 tonnes, and increase in mine life to December 2022 and potential for up to 12 more full time jobs and five contract jobs.
The Department of Planning and Environment has approved the proposal to extract more gold, silver, lead and zinc from newly identified reserves on the site until 2022.
The approved modification application also allows an expansion of the existing stockpile area for extracted materials; and the construction of new areas to keep mine waste and soil, a new car park, and a new laydown area to temporarily store unused equipment.
A team of 25 temporary full-time staff will also be required during construction, in addition to the current 102 employees already working at the mine.
The proposal was on exhibition for community feedback in 2015 and received seven submissions from Government agencies.
There were no public submissions and no objections were received.
The department said it is satisfied Hera has effectively addressed biodiversity concerns through a Biodiversity Management Plan and by providing a larger offset area with an extra 18.2 hectares to replant native vegetation.
It said water issues have been addressed through an updated Water Management Plan with the Department of Primary Industries.
The site will be subject to on-going audits and site inspections to ensure the company is adhering to its consent conditions.