Jobseekers sitting on a gold mine

ABOUT 150 workers could find jobs at another gold mine on Orange’s doorstep by mid-2016 and up to 500 flow-on jobs will be created, if Regis Resources is able to begin operations on its McPhillamys project at Kings Plains.

But first the Perth-based company will need to overcome the biggest hurdle of securing enough water for the mine, eight kilometres north-east of Blayney and 35 kilometres south-east of Orange, according to the project’s development manager Rod Smith.

Jobseekers packed the Orange Ex-Services Club’ auditorium to hear Mr Smith’s presentation at yesterday’s jobs expo.

Mr Smith says the construction phase could start by mid-2015 if the $150 million project gets the go-ahead after years of exploration, but few redundant Electrolux workers are likely to pick up jobs at the open-cut mine until operations begin in mid-2016.

“We’ve taken on a lot of new employees at Western Australia and at McPhillamys we intend to do the same,” he said.

“At the moment there are 10 years worth of reserves, but there’s been no regional exploration so there’s a lot of potential ... anecdotally that would extend to 20 years.”

The construction phase would employ about 200 people, but Mr Smith said most would be tradespeople.

He said there would be more opportunities for Electrolux workers during the operations phase where 60 to 70 per cent of positions could be filled by people with no mining experience.

He hopes it will begin just after the Electrolux plant’s closure.

“There are limited opportunities for training personnel during construction ... that’s the not-so-good news,” he said.

“But during operations there will be approximately 150 people and it generates three or four times that in the district.”

Mr Smith said during the operational phase up to 500 flow-on jobs would be created in the district and the “residential mine” would not require any fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers.

“It’s paradise having residential operations rather than FIFO. Having people reside in the area, it’s an enormous advantage,” he said.

The one potential “show-stopper” for the mine was water supply, Mr Smith said, with the company negotiating to use recycled effluent from Bathurst or recycled water from a Lithgow mine.

Mr Smith said Regis was collecting data for the project, with the hope of completing the environmental impact statement (EIS) by the end of this year before it is submitted to the planning department for approval.

Regis has 550 staff across its mines in Western Australia and Queensland.

About 250 are employed by the mine and 300 are contractors.

Mr Smith said Regis had a strong record socially, community-wise and environmentally.

“We’re very much a company that believes in attitude,” he said.

“It’s less about what you’ve done in the past, it’s what you want to do in the future.”

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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