Gold rush fever strikes region
THE tiny town of Drake, about 70km west of Casino, could be on the cusp of a gold rush.
White Rock Minerals this month started a major, two-year drilling program in an effort to determine quantities of gold, silver and copper at its Mt Carrington site.
Managing director Geoff Lowe has said drilling would continue until mid-2012, but stressed that there wouldn’t be any mining for at least two or three years.
Rex Minerals bought the gold, silver and copper project at Mt Carrington in 2009.
At that time there were inferred resources estimates of 190,000 ounces of gold and 10.5 million ounces of silver, as well as shallow and high-grade copper resources.
But as Rex Minerals started to focus more on projects in South Australia, White Rock Minerals made the decision to de-merge in June this year.
Company representatives said the reason was because they wanted to ‘explore and develop the Mt Carrington gold-silver project’.
And it seems like it will be acompany to watch.
At the end of the September 2010 quarter, White Rock Minerals held $10.6 million in cash reserves.
Early last month it received formal offers from the NSW Department of Industry and Investment to renew all 22 mining leases at Mt Carrington for another 10 years.
The Tenterfield and Drake areas have long been known for their gold potential.
Although Tenterfield was originally settled by sheep and cattle farmers, the population exploded in the 1880s after the discovery of gold at Morgans Gully and Ropers Gully, just north of the town.
Gold was discovered at Mt Carrington in 1886, with mining continuing in the area until about 1990.
Tenterfield mayor Toby Smith said it was ‘excellent news’ that White Rock Minerals’ drilling program had started.
“There are lots of places right around Australia which are currently benefiting from a mining boom,” he said.
“So people in this region are excited about the Mt Carrington project.
“Drake has a history as an old gold-mining area.
“If that was to happen again, I certainly believe it would be wonderful for the district.
“It would be great if White Rock Minerals finds something of value there.”
In the 1990s the Tenterfield community was divided over the Timbarra gold mine, particularly because the company, Ross Mining, had planned to use a cyanide extraction program.
The controversy attracted national and international attention.
The mine eventually closed and, despite several ownership changes, has never reopened.
Despite that recent history, Cr Smith is adamant that the community backs White Rock Minerals and the Mt Carrington drilling program.
“The company has been very open with the community about what’sgoing on,” he said.
“They have also briefed the council and we are planning further meetings. From my perspective, it iscertainly good to see the commitment of this company and they are very keen on the Drake district.
“One of the most positive aspects is that a mine would create jobs.
“Any extra jobs in this area isimportant.
“It would be a great boost for the economy and for local businesses.”
OUR GOLDEN HISTORY
Gold has a long and colourful history in this region. Tenterfield’s population exploded in the 1880s after the discovery of gold at Morgans Gully and Ropers Gully, just north of the town. Gold was discovered at Mt Carrington in 1886.
WHAT IT’S WORTH
In recent months the price of gold has skyrocketed and hit record highs. Last night gold hovered around $US1365 an ounce.
Silver is fetching approximately $US26 an ounce while copper is about $US8800 a tonne.