MINING exploration is always a high risk, high reward proposition and Grasmont Exploration Mining director Ian Morwood hopes he might be onto something huge.
Mr Morwood is almost an accidental mining executive after stumbling upon a bare stretch of land in dense bush near Hill End six years ago.
He was in town as a caravanning tourist as part of his tour of Australia’s Gold Rush fields when he got into a conversation with a couple at the Royal Hotel.
When he told the pair he had an interest in prospecting, they invited him to check out the strange landscape on the property the man was managing at the time.
What he saw, Mr Morwood says, astounded him in its similarities to the landscape surrounding the world’s largest gold mine in Irian Jaya. And what astounded him even more, after a little investigation, was that there was currently no exploration licence held over the territory.
So excited was he by the discovery that Mr Morwood registered his own exploration company and bought up around 150 square kilometres worth of licences in the Hill End and Ophir area.
The “Western Flank”, as it is known, is just three kilometres from the original Hill End gold fields and runs almost parallel to that rich seam.
Mr Morwood got initial testing done and was encouraged by the results and now he is hoping to start drilling in the near future.
It could become one of the greatest against-the-odds stories of all time, or it could amount to nothing.
That’s the nature of mining.
What is certain, though, is that Mr Morwood should not expect to be welcomed with open arms by everyone in the Hill End community if his pipe dream does become a reality.
The project might have the potential to make a handful of people unimaginably wealthy and could create a jobs boom similar that seen in Orange over the past decade, but not even a gold mine is all good news.
The Hill End community is fiercely protective of its rural lifestyle and will fiercely oppose any threats to the idyllic surrounds.
The federal government found just that when it proposed a nuclear waste dump in the district.
So this story will have countless twists and turns before we learn just how realistic a second Gold Rush might might.
It will be fascinating to watch.