The Director Resource Assessments, under delegation from the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, has granted consent to the development application under s 4.38 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for Cowal Gold Operation’s (CGO) underground development, and has approved an accompanying modification to the existing development consent for the mine.

Located approximately 38 kilometres north-east of West Wyalong in the central west region of New South Wales, Cowal Gold Operation has operated as an open-cut operation since 2005.  The mine is owned and operated by Evolution Mining.

The underground development project will introduce underground stope mining to the mine, to provide access up to an additional 27 Mt of ore, by targeting the GRE46 mineral deposit, which will be extracted at a rate of up to 1.8 Mtpa until 2040. It is expected that around 1.8 million ounces of gold will be produced over the life of the Project. The modification allows the augmentation of ore processing and tailings management infrastructure.

Classified as a State Significant Development (SSD), the design of the underground development project has been developed by Evolution in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary and iterative process.  Existing jobs for the open cut mine will be retained and it is estimated that around 160 full time equivalent jobs could be created at the peak of construction.  Once in operation, it is estimated that a further 230 jobs will be created by the underground project, taking the operational workforce to approximately 660 full time jobs.

A comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) and modification report were prepared for Evolution Mining to support the application for the approval of the SSD project and the modification, which was led by EMM Consulting.  The EIS considered the potential environmental, social and economic impacts and benefits of the project, and described measures identified to minimise and avoid impacts.

The EIS and modification report prepared by EMM for Evolution, followed the approval of Evolution’s accommodation village in West Wyalong, for which EMM also prepared the Statement of Environmental Effects.

EMM Project Manager, Paul Freeman commented:

“This is an exciting time for Evolution Mining and the local region.  We are extremely proud to have assisted Evolution in receiving these approvals by providing strategic advice at every stage of the approvals process, through the project planning stage, undertaking the necessary environmental studies, responding to submissions and assistance with negotiating conditions of consent.  These approvals represent a tremendous milestone which is testament to the strong vision of Evolution Mining.”

EMM Division Leader and Project Director, Rob Morris has been involved in the project since the initial appointment in early 2019.  Commenting on the recent announcement Rob remarked:

“We congratulate Evolution Mining on this significant milestone. The ‘one-team’ partnership approach adopted by CGO’s mining design and environmental teams with EMM, allowed us to work collaboratively to identify and manage the project’s key environmental and social risks. This has led to a great outcome for all concerned.”

The EIS was publicly exhibited from in late 2020, receiving strong support from the Local Government and the local community.  For more information about these approvals, click here.