A MODERN-DAY prospector believes he has found a billion-dollar seam of gold and copper just a few kilometres from the original Gold Rush fields at Hill End, north of Bathurst.
Grasmont Exploration and Mining director Ian Morwood has taken out an exploration licences covering around 150 square kilometres of unexplored territory known as the Western Flank near Hill End.
He said initial sampling had produced positive results and he hoped to commence drilling soon.
If he is right, Mr Morwood says the new Hill End mine could rival Cadia for output.
Mr Morwood first came across the target site in 2010 when he was taken onto the land by a property manager.
He said he was first struck by a bare stretch of land in the middle of dense bushland – a sign, he said, or gold sulphides and copper sulphides coming up through the soil.
He said the landscape was similar to the landscape at the world’s largest gold mine in Irian Jaya.
“The vegetation anomaly is similar to the vegetation anomaly and the geology of the world’s largest gold and third-largest copper mine – Grasberg in Irian Jaya – and is on the northern end of a major fault line with outcropping quartz reefs, with no record of previous exploration,” Mr Morwood said.
“This unexplored fault line is only three kilometres from and runs parallel to the world’s richest quarter mile – the Rose of England zone on Hawkins Hill at Hill End.”
Mr Morwood said there were other promising signs.
“Water couplings in the area are constantly being coated with copper and calcium leaching from the water supply, a situation similar to that encountered by Freeport on the Grasberg vegetation anomaly in Irian Jaya,” he said.
Mr Morwood said a 1977 NSW Geological Survey of the Hill End and Tambaroora goldfields had recorded gold samples on the Western Flank and while CSR and Hill End Gold had previously held exploration licences over the site, both had allowed those licences to expire.
The exploration licence regulations require Mr Morwood to conduct a program of community consultation before going ahead with any mining activity and he was keen to let the people of Hill End know of his plans.
He said he would hold public meetings in coming months to inform the community further.
Mr Morwood has a family history in gold mining.
“My great grandfather came out in 1853 to the Bendigo goldfields and my grandfather was born on the Argyle goldfields so I grew up with those stories,” he said.
“When I retired I decided to visit some of those goldfields and that’s how I ended up in Hill End.”