For explorers

Tender update – new closing date and time

The closing date and time for the North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release tender has been extended to 6pm (AEDT) 14 February 2020.

An Addendum has been added to the specification documents on the 2019 NCVG tender page to ensure that all prescribed information required for a mineral exploration licence application is submitted with tender responses. Providing this information will ensure that tender responses comply with regulations 13 and 14 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

The tender closing date and time has been extended to allow additional time to prepare this information.

New opportunities - the Goldfields Ground Release Tender

The Victorian Government is offering experienced and progressive minerals explorers the opportunity to secure minerals exploration rights to one or more of four large parcels of prospective ground within Victoria’s north central goldfields region via a competitive, merit based tender.

There remains potential for an undiscovered gold endowment of 75 million ounces (Moz) across the northern Bendigo, Stawell, and Melbourne geological zones. Simulations predict that up to 32 Moz of this undiscovered gold endowment occurs under cover in the northern Bendigo Zone – the blocks available for tender cover part of that area. The Bendigo Zone contains some of the most gold enriched crust in Australia - at least 24 Moz of gold has been produced from this Zone.

Detailed geoscience data packages and resulting interpretations are available for the northern Bendigo Zone – most of this work relates to the Geological Survey of Victoria’s Gold Undercover Initiative that was completed in 2009. The geology is dominated by Ordovician turbidites sequences of the Castlemaine Group that host a series of world-class orogenic gold systems and have been intruded by post-mineral Devonian A-type granites. Younger cover units of the Murray Basin cover these rocks in the northern portion of the Bendigo Zone – these progressively thicken to the north.

The North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release area immediately surrounds the Fosterville gold deposit.  The Fosterville Gold Mine is the largest gold producer in Victoria and between 2014 and 2018, has increased annualised gold production by 315 per cent (from ~116 koz per annum to ~367 koz per annum. Production guidance for 2019 is 550 to 610 koz at an operating cash cost of $130 to $150 per oz sold). This increase is related to a transition in mineralisation style from disseminated arsenopyrite-hosted gold to free gold – illustrated by a 540 per cent increase in gold head grade over the same period (4.6 g/t Au to 24.8 g/t Au). Near mine minerals exploration success at Fosterville continues and current total gold endowment (including historical production) is 9 Moz.

Find out more about Victorian gold.

View the area maps, georeferenced images and shape files.

Access the entry point to Geovic here.

The tender and licensing

Successful tenderers will gain the exclusive right to apply and be considered for a minerals exploration licence for the relevant block.

The emphasis is on gold exploration. Proposals for other minerals will also be accepted, other than for coal and for gas, which are excluded from the tender.

The opportunity is offered to experienced minerals explorers who can demonstrate a history of responsible exploration and a commitment to working closely with Traditional Owner groups, local stakeholders and communities.

The tender opens on 29 October 2019 and closes at 6pm (AEDT) on 14 February 2020.

The invitation to tender documents are available at

Tender briefing

We held a one-day tender briefing for potential tenderers on Friday 13 December 2019 at the Treasury Theatre, Melbourne.

The day featured:

  • An overview by the Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV) of the geology of the ground release area and the publicly available geoscience data.
  • Details of the existing land use and features within the ground release area.
  • Presentations by Traditional Owners within the ground release area about their expectations of explorers.
  • Tender briefing by Minerals Development Victoria (MDV).
  • Q&As.

All presentations were recorded and have been uploaded to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions youtube channel.

The video transcripts of the presentations are available here.





Introduction and acknowledgement of Traditional Owners

John Krbaleski (Head of Resources, Forestry and Game)


Geodynamics and implications for regional gold prospectivity

Ross Cayley (GSV)


The five key ingredients that make a world-class gold district

Rob Duncan (GSV)


Regional potential field datasets in north central Victoria – getting the most from the data

Phil Skladzien (GSV)


Geoscience datasets relevant for mineral exploration in north central Victoria

Melanie Phillips (GSV)


Tender briefing

Fiona Clarke (MDV)


Traditional Owner briefing - Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation & Taungurung Water and Land Council Aboriginal Corporation

Rodney Carter (CEO, DDWCAC) & Matt Burns (CEO, TWLCAC)


Land Inventory introduction - ‘A new approach’

Land Inventory overview and findings

Fiona Clarke (MDV)

Craig Clifton (Jacobs Group)

A globally renowned gold province

With more than 80 million ounces of gold mined since 1851, recent exciting gold exploration outcomes and increased gold production in the central goldfields region in recent times has seen Victoria resurgence internationally as gold exploration destination.

The Geological Survey of Victoria estimates that there may be up to 75 million ounces of undiscovered gold under cover in northern Victoria, at greater depth than has previously been explored.  The central and north central goldfields, located in the Bendigo geological zone, hold promise, with up to an estimated 32 million ounces of gold yet to be found.

Victoria features access to high quality transport and utilities infrastructure, established global markets and export pathways, and boasts a highly skilled, local workforce.  Melbourne is a global mining hub and corporate home to many large mining and mining services companies.

Reducing exploration risk

Underpinning the tender is a comprehensive program being implemented by the Victorian Government to reduce minerals exploration risk, build community understanding and confidence and attract experienced, progressive and responsible minerals explorers.

The North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release includes:

  • Pre-competitive geoscience data and knowledge to support evaluation of the geology and perspectivity;
  • Land use planning studies about the regional context, key land uses and features of importance to local communities within the blocks, to assist minerals exploration evaluation, planning and activities; and
  • Engaging with Traditional Owners, local authorities, stakeholders and community group representatives about the tender and minerals exploration and mining more broadly.

Pre-competitive geoscience

A geological overview of the ground release area and the four blocks offered is provided in the tender documents.

To assist exploration efforts, the Geological Survey of Victoria has interpreted and compiled a large volume of geoscience information, knowledge and data into regional geoscience datasets which are available at

This includes historical GSV maps, associated reports and geophysical data for the region which are available for download.

Understanding land uses and features important to communities

To better understand the regional context, we completed an inventory of regionally significant environmental, cultural, infrastructure and land use features and values within the ground release area and features that are important to local communities. This study also considered how these features are safeguarded by legislation and regulations.

Tender process

Experienced and progressive minerals explorers with strong social values and who are committed to working closely with Traditional Owners, landholders and local communities are invited to apply for one or more of the four blocks offered through the tender.

Tenders will be evaluated against the published tender evaluation criteria.

To ensure fairness and transparency of the process, the tender assessment will be conducted by an evaluation panel, independent of government, supported by two advisory panels, evaluating tender proposals relating to responsible exploration and Traditional Owner matters.

The tender and evaluation process is being conducted in accordance with strict probity requirements and overseen by an external independent expert Probity Advisor.

Applications for licensing

For each block for which a successful tender is selected, the successful tenderer will be invited to apply for a minerals exploration licence over that block. A company may be successful in securing the right to apply for a minerals exploration licence over more than one block. The proposals submitted by the successful tenderers for each block will form the basis of the exploration licence application. The tender response will provide sufficient information for a licence application to be assessed by Victoria’s Earth Resources Regulation unit. The proposals of successful bidders will be automatically forwarded to Earth Resources Regulation, which is part of the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

More information

Page last updated: 03 Apr 2020