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Investing In Central Otago

Today marks the start of the resource consent hearing for Hawkeswood Mining Ltd’s proposed alluvial mining venture in Millers Flat, signalling another chapter in the rich goldmining history of Central Otago.

The project, spearheaded by Operations Manager Simon Johnstone, holds the promise of revitalising the regions historical gold mining legacy while fostering local and national prosperity.

Mr Johnstone sees the venture as a potential catalyst for continued economic growth. The proposed alluvial mine is expected to create 20 to 30 jobs and inject an estimated $5 to 7 million annually into the local community, particularly benefiting nearby towns such as Millers Flat, Ettrick, Roxborough, and Alexandra.

It has taken two years for Hawkeswood Mining to do the preparation needed to meet resource consent requirements, and in that time the proposal has found strong local support.

“Hawkeswood Mining has invested an incredible amount of time, effort, and financial resources into this endeavour. We have consulted, listened, worked with community groups and consultants, and adapted plans to accommodate issues. This includes a public meeting held at Millers Flat on April 10, 2024.”

“We’re really heartened by the groundswell of enthusiasm. I firmly believe that this strong backing from the local community reflects the value gold mining will provide the local area. This is money not redirected from somewhere else. This is economic wellbeing for Central Otago – it is all new money that simply wouldn’t exist without the mine,” Mr Johnstone said.

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Gold has been mined in this area for 150 years - the proposed Millers Flat mine site has been inhabited by Otago Miners since the 1860’s when European settlers sluiced the riverbanks.

“We are excited to be in a position to hopefully start a new chapter in goldmining, and to do it in a way that is sustainable,” Mr Johnstone said. “We’re poised to meet every challenge head on.”

The land, currently in pasture and old dredge tailings, will be completely restored as mining completes – in fact removing the early 1900 dredge tailings will effectively improve the cultural landscapes. Planned native plantings will boost biodiversity, which in turn will have a positive impact in attracting and increasing native wildlife.

“That means the rural amenity values, including the district’s open natural character of the hills and ranges will not only be maintained, but will ultimately be enhanced.”

Hawkeswood Mining was granted a similar-sized resource consent by CODC (Central Otago District Council) and ORC (Otago Regional Council) in 2010 at Thompsons Gorge.

Jack Hawkeswood, son of Managing Director Andrew Hawkeswood, is a fourth generation miner.

”We are a family-owned and operated mining company, and we understand sustainable mining practices. We and our consultants have prepared mitigations that protect the environment, address the potential of nuisance value to neighbouring properties, mitigate against hazards, and acknowledges the cultural and historical aspects of the site,” Mr Johnstone said.

Mindful of their custodial role in safeguarding the environment , the company recognises the need to provide for the community’s social, economic and cultural wellbeing, and for their health and safety.

“We live here – we’re committed to our community and to managing the effects of land use activities to maintain landscape and cultural values. We are committed to being good caretakers of the land and rivers, as we hope to demonstrate.”

“We’re not just mining for gold we’re investing in the future for Otago.”

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