Gold miner Michael Hickey has spent 30 years working around the NSW central west goldfields and the historical diggings that surround Moruya, but now he wants to take a bigger step.
Mr Hickey, who is based in northern NSW, has lodged an Exploration Licence application through his family company GDR Mine Developments Pty for a 125 sq/km area east and southeast of Moruya.
With the area previously the site of historical gold mining, Mr Hickey hopes that by using the new technologies and sophisticated methods, sources of yet undiscovered gold will be found that could allow a commercial venture to be set up.
It would hinge on the amount and quality of the gold.
His application for Group 1 Metallic Minerals is now before NSW Trade and Investment.
The application covers the historical Moruya goldfield which has been held under multiple previous exploration licences since the 1970s.
Mr Hickey said he has made the exploration licence application so that he can continue his investigation into various sites to be able to evaluate what amount of gold is there and its grade.
Cautious but with an optimistic approach, Mr Hickey said that if a commercial venture was achievable, then this would also create job opportunities.
He believes the gold is there within areas of the historic gold fields that remain undeveloped.
From his own lengthy experiences on the Moruya fields, the businessman said that grades of the gold ore was now sufficiently attractive for him to begin further studies of the different areas within that region.
“I have spent a fortune down there over the years and I am comfortable about restarting exploration,” Mr Hickey said.
“Gold prices now will likely make it more viable for mining.
“I don’t have the answers yet and that is why I have made the application for an exploration licence.
“I think there is enough gold in the areas I’ve applied for to make it a very good thing for the region.”
Mr Hickey said the Moruya area had a proud past in working the goldfields and he had received many phone calls inquiring about his intentions.
He had taken the details of people who asked about future jobs.
If given approval, Mr Hickey said the exploration program undertaken by his company, that involves his senior geologist nephew, would take a different style from past operations because it would use less intrusive modern methods.
Environmentally aware, Mr Hickey said the community should not be worried because any exploration would be well regulated.
He will meet later this month with Eurobodalla Shire Council.
A spokeswoman for Resources and Energy said, if approved, the licence would allow Mr Hickey to carry out desktop studies, field visits and sampling, geological mapping and geochemical surveys.