Evolution Mining has received regulatory approval from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) to increase the plant processing rate by 31 per cent from 7.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 9.8Mtpa at its Cowal Gold operation near West Wyalong in NSW.
Evolution submitted a modification application, supported by a comprehensive Environmental Assessment (EA) to the DP&E in March 2018, which provided detailed measures to be implemented to mitigate any potential environmental impacts of the increased processing rate.
The EA was prepared in consultation with key stakeholders including members of the local community, relevant Local and State Government agencies and local businesses.
The EA underwent an extensive public exhibition phase and received overwhelming support, with 95 per cent of all submissions made by community members supportive of the modification, and no objections were from regulatory agencies.
The capital expenditure requirement for the processing plant expansion is estimated to be in the order of AU$40 – A$45 million. Detailed feasibility studies are being finalised and, with regulatory approval granted sooner than expected, there is potential to bring forward the internal approvals process for the expansion to the March 2019 quarter.
Commenting on the approval, Evolution’s Executive Chairman, Jake Klein, said that the approval was a significant step towards achieving the company’s objective of increasing Cowal’s annual production rate to over 300,000 ounces per annum.
“It also provides job security for our mine employees and contractors and will continue to stimulate demand in the local and regional economy.”
Cowal currently employees approximately 520 full-time employees and contractors with the majority coming from the Bland Shire.