Stawell Gold Mines future: Five possible options

NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council will investigate five possible options for the future use of the Stawell Gold Mines site.

The Stawell Gold Mines Future Possibilities Feasibility Study project control group has reviewed its findings from the study.

A final list of options – outlined by the project control group – was presented to the council on Monday night.

Possibilities include hydroponics and greenhouse food production, regional scale agribusiness including food processing, training opportunities, a research facility and Wonga Pit landfill opportunities.

The underground mine was expected to close by the end of 2013, but Stawell Gold Mines announced in October mining would continue into the first quarter of 2014.

Cr Wayne Rice said the group decided on options that would create jobs and that were sustainable long-term.

“If options weren’t job creating and sustainable, they were discounted,” he said.

Cr Rice said the site had far greater potential than just an open-cut mine.

“Some of the identified projects could bring big dollars to the area,” he said.

“The land around the mine is very useful and can be used to grow products.

“As matters are further investigated, we hope to find something good for the shire.”

Council ruled out tourism as a possibility in November.

Cr Rice said the community was concerned about the decision.

“We did not see a tourist mine as a long-term option,” he said. “We had to look at the entire leased area of the site.”

Cr Murray Emerson said the group looked at many options, including training and sporting opportunities.

“We are now putting a plan together and hope to get a good outcome for when mining finishes up at the site,” he said.

Mayor Kevin Erwin said this was an exciting time for council.

“This is an extremely resilient area and this is another challenge we have before us,” he said.

The project control group will now further investigate and assess the final options.

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