The state government has sought to allay residents' concerns over a mining exploration initiative covering most of the Wimmera.
Government representatives hosted a forum at Jeparit's bowls club on Wednesday night, to give residents more insights into the geology of the region and the possible outcomes of the tender process.
It followed claims from Jeparit farmer and former Hindmarsh Shire Councillor Elizabeth Chivell that there had been insufficient consultation.
The government ran an open tender for minerals exploration in 2018 across eleven blocks of land in western Victoria, which are known collectively as the Stavely Arc. Jeparit falls in one of the blocks.
A spokesperson for the department told the Mail-Times it ran nine community pop-in sessions in towns across the Stavely Arc during the process, including in Horsham and Nhill.
"Since then department staff have continued to engage with members of local communities about the Stavely tender, minerals exploration and how it is regulated," he said.
As a result of the process, six of the eleven blocks received successful tenderers, who earned the right to apply to the regulator for a minerals exploration licence.
The spokesman said these six companies were now progressing toward gaining a licence in these areas. These applications could take up to two years to be processed while concerns such as native title claims are examined.
"No minerals exploration, development or mining is currently planned for the Jeparit area," he said.
"Exploration companies have to date not deemed the area likely to yield minerals such as gold and copper."
Ms Chivell said while the forum was more comprehensive than those the department had run before, she and other farmers in the area remained concerned.
"At this present time there are no plans for exploration, but this was round one. If this was a one-off, it wouldn't be called round one," she said.
"There is going to be a round two, and that's what we've got to prepare ourselves for. The guidelines are there, so hopefully the state government will improve their booklets so it's not so ambiguous."
Ms Chivell said she first heard talk of a five-kilometre open-cut gold and copper mine for the area at a mining warden's preliminary hearing in August 2018.
She also said communities in the areas where companies had been permitted to apply for exploration licences had not been given the full picture on their rights.
"They were only told they were entitled to compensation. They were never informed to look at the papers, to see the exploration licence the applicant has to advertise, and then you have the right to object in a certain period of time. They never informed people of that."
The meeting also heard from Kanagulk Landcare Group spokesman Ian Ross about the need to keep abreast of mining plans in their community.
Mr Ross said his community received something very different to what was promised by Iluka resources.