An application for a mining exploration licence between Wangaratta and Beechworth has the raised eyebrows of an Eldorado tourism leader.
Bendigo-based Ironbark Mining, owned by Singapore company Liongold Corp, applied for the licence in October, 2020, after an initial review suggested the area may still have the potential for mineralisation.
Referred to as EL007515 or Everton Project, most of the area is privately owned as prime agricultural land, but several parts, including Eldorado, were mined for gold and tin in the 1850s.
The proposed exploration is situated from Eldorado to Carboor and has incorporated the communities of Tarrawingee, Oxley, Milawa, Markwood and Everton.
Ironbark Mining plans to undertake reviews of the historic mining and past exploration, as well as soil and rock samples, where access is able to be gained from the land owner and occupier.
If approved, a five-year work program is proposed, before mining is considered.
The mine stated in its application "less than one per cent of exploration projects progress to an established mining operation".
However, Sue Phillips, who runs the town's museum, is worried if mining were to recommence in Eldorado, it would lose its tourist appeal.
"We've spent 15 years in terms of developing tourism for businesses and they rely so heavily on tourism coming into the area," she said.
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"They come here for peace and quiet, they come because they're interested in the bird life and flora and fauna, they do some gold panning around the creek.
"They're reasons that potentially, when you get a mining exploration take place, could be taken away."
Mrs Phillips' residence backs onto a national park reserve, with sections of the area flagged for exploration.
"With all the mining history, it has taken years to regenerate and be a sustainable national park area which is potentially going to be stuffed up again," she said.
"Reedy Creek goes down to the Ovens River and into the Murray River, so you've got to think what kind of underground water issues is that going to create for people."
For many in the community, the first knowledge of the application was a public notice in the Wangaratta Chronicle on August 20, with objections and comments received until September 10.
Four of five Eldorado residents at the town's general store yesterday weren't aware of the proposal when quizzed by The Border Mail.
Wangaratta councillor Harvey Benton has sought more information about the proposal from council staff, but said he has family in the area who would be impacted.
A Facebook group against mining exploration of the area started on Monday and has more than 300 members.
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