Perth-based Gold and Resource Developments (GRD) is seeking resource consent to operate a huge gold mine at Reefton that locals believe could breathe life into the West Coast with the possibility of jobs and increased spending.
Company secretary Angus Kennedy-Perkins was in New Zealand this week and said the project offered great promise and looked encouraging given the low currency in relation to the US dollar.
The application involves a former Macraes Mining development known as the Globe Prospect for which resource consent was obtained in 1994. The idea was shelved at the time because of unfavourable conditions.
This time the company will be using improved pressure oxidation processing with equipment installed at the company's Macraes Flat operations in Otago. Concentrated ore would be either railed, trucked or shipped from the West Coast to Macraes Flat for final processing.
Mr Kennedy-Perkins said there was potential to create 80 full-time jobs and 120 full-time equivalents in downstream activities over the 10-15 year lifespan of the mine. At the peak of construction there might be 400 people employed.
The board of GRD has yet to give the go ahead. A decision would be made in July if the resource consent hearings were successful.
The new resource consent application says the mine would add income in the Buller district of $13.7 million a year, with a short-term peak of $21.1 million in 2006. Reefton has about 1000 residents supported by farming, a sawmill and two small coal mines.