Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

By Jackson Russell – 

A Canadian exploration company is in the process of gaining an exploration licence to look for gold in Clonbinane.

While an exploration licence doesn’t allow Mawson Resources to mine for gold, it would allow the Vancouver-based company to explore the land to discover if there is gold underground.

Exploration includes scientific studies, satellite data and soil samples to determine the possible location of gold deposits. The exploration will involve a research activity taking place over a large area with minimal impact.

Mawson Resources’ total exploration area covers around 200 square kilometres over two exploration licences and a retention licences on the historic mine site.

The area stretches from Heathcote Junction in the south to Sunday Creek in the north, straddling the Hume Freeway and extending 20 kilometres east to near Flowerdale.

For Kilmore-born chief executive Michael Hudson, the licence brings him back to his roots and that of the Victorian gold rush.

Mr Hudson is part of the fifth generation of Hudsons born in Kilmore, and attended school in Bylands before his family moved away.

“Gold has been mined in that Clonbinane area and around Kilmore since the 1850s so it will be no surprise if there’s gold there,” he said.

Mawson Resources ventured into Victoria, with a successful exploration underway in Finland, following the finding a gold deposit between Heathcote and Bendigo by another Canadian company.

Fosterville mine is one of the most profitable, highest-grade gold mines in the world and has changed opportunities for gold exploration in Victoria.
Mr Hudson said he hoped that Clonbinane was similar to a Fosterville-style deposit.
“We’re all looking for the next Fosterville and Clonbinane is one of those Fosterville style deposits,” he said.

Throughout the process of exploration, Mawson Resources will consult with the community through town hall style meetings and individual visits to landholders whose properties might be affected.

“[We will] let people know what we plan to do and negotiate because they’re the surface landholders so we need permission to look at their land, get soil samples or eventually drill,” Mr Hudson said.

Mr Hudson said Mawson Resources was not looking to make big holes in the surface, but mine underground up to 700 metres below the surface.

“The days of big open pits are not possible anymore in my view,” he said.

“Most of the gold in that top 50 metres was taken in the 1800s so we’re looking below that old working.”

Mr Hudson said the millions to be spent looking for gold over the next few years would flow back to local businesses.

“The largest cost that we have is drilling and we’ll use local contractors and they’ll employ local people,” he said.

While there might be an increase in traffic in the Clonbinane area during exploration, Mr Hudson said there would also be the opportunity to grow jobs and financial investment into the area.

“We’re geologists and we’ll be using lots of local contractors and people,” he said.

“We’ve been very active drilling in Finland over the last four or five months and that project employed 70 people. When there’s a lot of activity, that’s the kind of level [of employment].

“There’ll be a little more traffic and activity but it’s not something that will affect the beauty and tranquility of the place.”