A STATE Government-appointed panel will start hearing submissions on the proposal to open cut mine Stawell landmark Big Hill on Wednesday.
About 44 people have asked to be heard by the panel, which will also hear from State Government departments, the Environment Protection Authority and Stawell Gold Mines owner Crocodile Gold.
The hearing will start at 10am in Federation University’s Stawell campus in Sloane Street.
It will run for about 11 days.
The panel will also consider 350 written submissions made in response to the project’s environmental effects statement.
It will also consider submissions from Crocodile Gold and call on experts if required.
The hearing will incorporate site visits.
Headed by chairwoman Jennifer Moles, the four-person inquiry panel had a directions hearing in Stawell early this month to establish procedures for the panel hearing.
Stawell Gold Mines manager Troy Cole encouraged Stawell and district residents to attend the hearing,
“This hearing is open to the public and we would encourage anyone interested in the Big Hill Enhanced Development Project to come along and learn first-hand how the project will operate, how it will benefit Stawell and how the community can be involved with the rehabilitation of Big Hill,” he said.
“This hearing will cover all aspects of the proposal, from noise, blasting, rehabilitation, economics and social impacts to air quality assessment and peer review, public health effects and real time air emissions monitoring and response.
“Anything anyone wants to know about the proposal will be addressed during the 11 or so days.”
Mr Cole said the panel would take a number of weeks to report to the Planning Minister, who would make a decision on the proposal.
He said Stawell Gold Mines wanted to work with the Stawell community on the project.
“This project is mutually beneficial to Stawell and our company – it will create employment, bring people to the area and lead to the rehabilitation of Big Hill itself,” he said.
He said people could freecall 1800 771 729, email SGM.email@example.com or visit www.crocgold.com for more information about the project, or for updates and a timetable for the panel hearing.