THE Victorian Energy Minister never touched terra firma in his bid to visit the $225 million mine planned for the Upper Murray yesterday.
But it didn’t stop him talking it up, along with other mining projects in the state.
A cloud-bound Corryong condemned Michael O’Brien to circle above the town’s airport before returning to Albury to refuel about noon.
Dart Mining is targeting 2016 as the start date for extracting molybdenum, copper and silver from Mount Unicorn.
In today’s market the mineral wealth is estimated at more than $225 million.
Construction is expected to generate 300 jobs, ongoing production for up to 20 years, 100 jobs.
Mr O’Brien said it was an exciting development and that his government was looking to reduce the bureaucracy around mining approvals.
“As a government and minister we are very keen to see developments like this because we know the wealth they bring to local communities,” he said.
“What we are trying to do is streamline the pro-cesses so that companies looking to develop mining operations can do so.
“We need to protect the environment and we will protect water but we want to make it as easy as possible for mining operators to comply with regulations so that we get the benefit of jobs and the investment while protecting those environmental values.”
Dart Mining is planning for a minimum 20-year mine life with a relatively small footprint of 400 metres by 450 metres digging into the ore-rich ridge just 20 kilometres from the town.
Final assessments of the size and quality of the deposit has confirmed the extent of the deposit.
But managing director Lindsay Ward said they still needed a cornerstone investor and the search was spreading around the globe.
“We have a confirmed resource and that is what investors want to see,” he said.
“But the key to this mine’s success is the town of Corryong. It is a support base to the mine; we don’t need to have fly-in, fly-out workers, we don’t need to build a camp to support the operation — it has houses, doctors, supermarkets all the things families will need.”