Video transcript: Stavely Block 4 Community Information Session 1

[Title: Minerals Exploration in Western Victoria - Stavely Ground Release Block 4]

Brett Millsom

All right, good afternoon everyone and thanks for taking the time out of your day to attend this information session to provide some more information about minerals exploration in Western Victoria.

My name’s Brett Millsom and I’m the Acting Manager of Community and Stakeholder Engagement with the minerals team in the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

I’d like to start today’s session by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we’re coming to you from today, for me that’s the Gunaikurnai people, and pay respect to elders past, present and emerging, and as this is an online session I’d encourage you right across Victoria, wherever you might be, to do the same.

I’d also like to acknowledge any local elected officials we might have on the call today from all three levels of government both state and federal, and also the local government areas within the specific area that’s in focus today being Horsham Rural City, Northern Grampians and Ararat Rural City.

So a bit of an overview before we get started today about the Stavely Ground Release.

This was a process by which in 2018 the Victorian government made available several blocks of land for a competitive tender process to minerals explorers which was the combination of a project known as the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative, which included geoscience research, land planning, community and stakeholder engagement, and investment attraction activity.

As part of that process there have been four exploration licences awarded, the fourth of which is why we’re here today which was recently awarded to Gippsland Prospecting, and that is very much the purpose of today’s session to provide an overview of minerals exploration in the area, and also to introduce you to the explorer, Gippsland Prospecting, and they’ll provide some further information about their exploration plans.

Before we get started there are a couple of housekeeping items.

All participants today are in listen-only mode, but that means you can actually still ask questions.

[Slide: Microsoft Teams - Asking a question]

For those of you that are looking to ask questions, there’s a little Q&A icon at the bottom of your, or at the top I think it should be of your screens.

If you click that one there should be an option to type a question in.

Alternatively, there’s a number on that slide there for my colleague, John Dunlevy who, if you are having any issues just give him a call or a text and he’ll be able to help you with any issues you might be having.

We’ll record all the questions that we get today, so if we don’t get a chance to answer them we will come back to you via email although we are hoping to get through as many of them as we can.

There will be an opportunity for questions at the end of the session today.

[Slide: Agenda]

A bit of an agenda in terms of what you can expect from today’s session, welcome and introductions obviously to be done by me which we’re just about finished.

I’ll then handover to my colleague Donna Mongan who’ll provide an overview of minerals exploration in the area, and the Stavely Ground Release.

She’ll also provide some information about a land access consent tool that’s been developed by the department to assist landholders, particularly the agricultural landholders in negotiation land access with private exploration companies.

Donna I’m sure will provide more information about this in her presentation but it is important to remember on that one that it’s very likely only a small number of landholders will be approached for access to private lands.

We’ll then, and I’m going to actually, just as a note to the presenters, I’ll reorder this slide so we’ll go Gippsland Prospecting and then questions.

We’ll then handover to Kent Balas and the team at Gippsland Prospecting who’ll provide some information about their exploration program.

And, then there’ll be plenty of opportunity for questions at the end of that.

Without further ado I might handover to my colleague, Donna Mongan, who’ll provide some further information about minerals exploration in the area and start her presentation, so over to you Donna.

Donna Mongan

Thanks Brett.

Hello everyone and welcome.

I hope many of you attended our sessions back in 2018 and 2019 when we spoke about the Stavely Ground Release tender and provided opportunities for you to have your say about exploration.

[Slide: Minerals exploration - What does minerals exploration mean for landholders in the Stavely Block 4 area?]

If you were not able to attend these sessions there is plenty of information on our website, and we provide ongoing opportunities for your voices to be heard.

Now that Stavely Block 4 has been licenced, the key question for your communities is what does that actually mean for you?

A few of you will be approached about access to your private property and I will go into detail about that shortly, but for most of you it won’t mean much other than that you might spot the explorers people out and about and occasionally some work vehicles.

As you will hear from Kent, he and his team will be buying local.

Since 2018 minerals exploration expenditure in Western Victorian local government areas exceeded $41m.

Across the Stavely Ground Release licences expenditure is expected to exceed $20m.

This spending supports small rural businesses and creates jobs.

For example, some minerals exploration licensees like Kent will set up offices in the region employing local staff, while local contractors provide machinery and equipment, service stations sell fuel, motels provide accommodation, and pubs, bakeries and cafés sell meals.

[Slide: Map of Victoria]

It’s also good to note that exploration is a common occurrence across Victoria.

It’s taking place all around you.

For example, over 30% of the state is under exploration licence at any one point in time, but only 0.02% has a mining footprint.

Exploration readily coexists with other land uses.

A significant amount of this exploration is taking place on private property rather than on crown land, so generally exploration is taking place on agricultural land.

Farmers and exploration companies have for many, many years been quietly and successfully negotiating access to private property, and compensation where appropriate, to allow licenced explorers to undertake their work.

Minerals exploration is nothing new to Western Victoria.

I hope you will take time to watch the video that I will send via email tomorrow, real landholders in Cathcart and Serpentine talking about their experiences dealing with explorers.

[Slide: Minerals exploration Stavely Block 4]

As I mentioned before, minerals exploration development are important to Victoria’s economy bringing investment and jobs to regional areas and communities through the Stavely Ground Release tender the department is encouraging minerals exploration and development in a way that is compatible with agriculture and supports state’s economic, social and environmental objectives to benefit all Victorians.

Activities undertaken as part of the initiative is included, geoscience programs identifying areas with the most potential for minerals discoveries, consultation with regional community leaders about land use and key environmental, water, cultural and other assets, an assessment of existing legislation and land planning processes to confirm sensitive areas would be protected making available areas suitable for minerals exploration encourage the best exploration programs.

Probably most importantly are identifying explorers working closely with landholders and local communities from start to finish.

This area we call Stavely Block 4 covers just over 800 square metres – square metres, I’m sorry, square kilometres.

The map of the block you can is see is close to but does not include the Grampians National Park.

There are other minerals exploration licences in the area.

Licences Near Me on the Earth Resources website shows the locations of all licences across the state.

The department has identified nearly 1500 properties in this area and we’ve notified all landholders by letter which is to protect your privacy and are coordinated through your local councils.

[Slide: Minerals exploration]

Before I talk about giving consent for explorers to access properties, I want to confirm there are somethings we can rule out right up front.

Explorers will not be looking for gas or for coal that is in their licence.

The licensee Gippsland Prospecting Pty Ltd will be looking for gold, copper and base metals.

This is true for all six of the successful tenders across the Stavely Ground Release.

As a reminder, fracking is prohibited in Victoria.

Second, exploration and mining of any type is prohibited in all Victorian national and state parks.

This means no activity in the Grampians and the Arapiles.

The licensee did not excise crown land but there are no native title claims inside their block area.

This means native title requirements were completed in that it was determined that the area had no claims lodged.

Road and road reserves are taken as having extinguished native title, however there may be other areas of crown land where native title has extinguished by some previous exclusive possession acts such as commercial or residential lease.

[Slide: Special places, features safeguarded]

Part of the reason why minerals exploration and agriculture so readily coexist is because explorers must operate under a highly regulated regime.

Licences are granted under the Mineral Resources Sustainable Development Act.

This legislation sets out licence conditions and the processes for getting approvals for exploration work plans.

It governs the requirements for gaining consent to private land for starting work on crown land, but it’s worth keeping in mind exploration is governed by a complex suite of laws.

There are more than 20 other acts and their associated regulations that provide safeguards over special places and special things, and govern what explorers do.

To name a few these safeguards cover national parks, waterways and aquifers, native vegetation, cultural and indigenous heritage, threatened plants and animals.

I just want to point out that this is the licenced explorers legal responsibility to adhere to all of the laws and regulations governing their activities.

So you’ll see all those acts in the slide, if there’s any further information you require on those please let us know.

[Slide: Timelines and conversion rates]

Although the suite of 20 plus acts and regulations govern both exploration and mining, it is very important to note we are only talking about minerals exploration at this stage.

It is really important to understand that there is only a very small chance that an economically viable discovery will be made.

For example, in Victoria only one in 300 exploration licences end in a mine, though many in the minerals industry, including Kent, would suggest the figure is more likely one in 600 or one in a thousand, plus it takes an average of 12 years from proving the existence of an economically viable deposit becoming a mining operation.

Part of that 12 years is the licensee preparing detailed environmental design and economic studies, and of course there would be extensive public engagement about any proposed development or mine.

But we are here today about minerals exploration not mining.

So I hope this has set the context for you.

[Slide: Negotiating land access and compensation]

Today I would like to introduce you to a new tool the department has developed, a tool to help landholders and exploration companies discuss and agree upon access to your properties.

Tools developed in conjunction with the National Farmers Federation, I call it a tool but it’s actually commercial contracts supported by a guide.

The clauses in this template of commercial contract provide talking points that can be used to negotiate consent for the exploration company to access and undertake activities on your land.

The question we’re often asked is whether you have to give consent at all and how that is to be achieved.

The first point to make is that in Victoria, like all other states in Australia, the crown owns the minerals on behalf of the people.

This gives the government the right to grant licences to companies to search for minerals.

They can generally undertake that search on both crown land and freehold land, but you do have the right to negotiate the terms and conditions under which the explorer will access to private land, and you might also need to negotiate compensation that is payable to you should you experience any loss of income or loss of amenity arising from the exploration activity.

Yes, you can say no to the explorer, but beware the Mineral Resources Sustainable Development Act states that the explorer can take landholders to VCAT or the Supreme Court, and they may only rule on the level of compensation.

This implies they will not rule on the matter of access.

I might add that such an outcome is quite rare as both, more often than not, explorers and landholders work out arrangements to both their advantage.

[Slide: Commercial Consent Agreement]

A few points to remember about this tool, it is voluntary, you may want to use our tool, your own, or the version provided by the exploration company, it is entirely up to the parties involved.

If you do use the tool it is at least a conversation starter.

It prompts you about what to ask and have the conversation with the exploration company, and you will help get your head around any special conditions you might want to consider for your property.

This could be heritage listing or a trust for nature covenants that you have on your property.

These things which are important to you and make sure that you’re recognised in an agreement with the exploration company.

It is flexible, not everything is relevant to your agricultural business or landholding.

Not everything will be relevant for the exploration program planned by the explorer.

You have to work together to build a consent agreement that suits your particular circumstances.

This tool and supporting guide provides information to assist discussions about giving explorers access to your private property, the conditions under which they may enter your property, compensation and how that might be calculated if it is applicable, communications how keeping each other informed, dispute resolution, how to get help if relationships break down.

As I said earlier, we’ll email you a link to the tool on our website.

We normally hand out the pack when we do face-to-face sessions, so if you would prefer a hardcopy just let me know and I’ll arrange one to be mailed to you.

I have covered giving explorers access to your properties.

[Slide: Commercial consent agreement clauses]

By law an explorer must ensure their programs minimise interference with other activities on the land.

This includes personnel and contractors, dates and hours of operation, areas of the property to be noted, routes and use of roads and tracks, your preferences for communication face-to-face, phone, email and written, and those special conditions and the word we were waiting for, compensation.

There are also special conditions that can be implied to reinforce your property’s biosecurity.

[Slide: Establish special conditions]

For example, access during lambing, calving and cropping, vehicle cleanliness, important flora and fauna, as I mentioned before for trusted for nature properties and other covenanted properties.

Compensation will only equate the loss of income you have suffered or the loss of amenity.

[Slide: Compensation]

You don’t cut a portion of the value of minerals on your land because at this stage the crown still owns those minerals.

The exploration company may not want to establish a compensation agreement at the start because they may be only doing a reconnaissance or low impact work that would not have any adverse impacts on your income or amenity.

Remember compensation is not just about money.

You can negotiate with the explorer on a range of things, fencing, roads resurfacing, equipment.

At a certain point in time the explorer may not be able to do further work until he has secured an approved work plan from the Earth Resources Regulator.

This is the point at which an explorer must gain a written compensation agreement from you.

This is different from a consent agreement.

A consent agreement is about access to your land.

A written compensation agreement details how you will be compensated if you are made worse off by the explorer’s activities.

You and the explorer may decide to establish the compensation mechanisms up front, or you may decide to wait until the explorer needs one under the legislation.

Again, you have to decide what’s best for you.

[Slide: Professional advice]

Negotiating consent for access, and negotiating compensation agreement may be dawning for some of you, that is why the tool, which is really, as I said, a template contract has been developed only you can determine what these conditions look like and you should seek professional advice.

If you feel that you need help on the way forward then you should do so, whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Seek advice from a solicitor, accountant or agricultural advisor, the department sessions with these advisors in the region over the past few years.

The government has an expectation that the explorer should reimburse you for any reasonable professional costs bear that in mind.

[Slide: Dispute settlement]

The tool also provides some material about simple steps to prevent a dispute.

All parties should act in good faith and regularly communicate with each other.

You shouldn’t do anything to limit the other party’s rights and obligations under the agreement.

You should try to talk to the other party and resolve it between yourselves or seek professional assistance from trust advisors.

But what if you and the explorer cannot reach agreement about access to your property?

We suggest you first try an independent dispute resolution service or you can go through the mining warden or Victorian Small Business Commission.

The contact details about these are in the tool pack.

You and the exploration company can seek a ruling from VCAT or the Supreme Court.

VCAT won’t rule on whether the explorer can access your land.

The explorer can access your land and VCAT will only rule on condition and compensation you the landholder is entitled to.

But let’s put this back into context.

The vast majority of landholders and explorers work together to negotiate consent amicably and to benefit both parties.

Please watch the landholder video, it shows real folk and real explorers, not actors, talking about getting on with it.

[Slide: Community engagement requirements]

Now before I hand this virtual floor over to Kent, I just want to make sure you’re aware of the obligations minerals explorers have for informing the community.

As a part of their licence they’re required to share information about their plans and programs and give you an ample opportunity to express your views and feedback.

Gippsland Prospecting will have a local community engagement officer, you will meet Danny Grellet shortly.

You might already know Danny or his family.

He is there to assist in raising the company’s awareness of community expectations.

[Slide: further information]

Gippsland Prospecting will provide their contact details, and these are also available on the Earth Resources website.

My details appear on the next slide but you will receive an email from me with links to the land access consent tool and other useful information tomorrow.

Please contact me directly should you need any more information on minerals exploration and your rights.

I would be very pleased to get your feedback on your experience with the land access consent tool.

Thanks Brett, over to you.

Brett Millsom

Thanks.

As you can tell by Donna’s presentation there’s been quite a bit of work from the department in the last several years looking at these land access consent arrangements and trying to support agricultural landholders in those negotiations, so plenty there to digest and get your heads around.

And as Donna did say, if you are looking for further information her contact details are on that slide and by all means do get in touch with her, I’m sure she would be only too happy to have a chat with you.

I’d now like to introduce Kent Balas who is with Gippsland Prospecting.

Kent’s joining us today to provide some further information about their plans with their exploration licence, and I will just get this sorted here, and I will handover on that note to you.

I’d like you to make welcome Kent Balas.

Welcome Kent.

[Slide: Community Consultation - Gippsland Prospecting Pty Ltd]

Kent Balas

Thanks very much Brett.

You’ll go ahead and do the slides will you, is that how it works?

Brett Millsom

Just give me a heads up when you want me to change them, yeah, and I will make those changes.

Kent Balas

Okay.

Yeah, well thanks Brett.

Yeah, as Brett said my name is Kent Balas from Gippsland Prospecting.

You will note the presentation here is branded with Battery Minerals.

Gippsland Prospecting now has a relationship with Battery Minerals which is an ASX listed company where Battery will provide us significant funding over the coming years, and have just raised approximately $6m to advance this project.

So, I’d just like to introduce Danny Grellet who will do the first part of the presentation and talk about the community consultation.

Danny and I have been in contact for approximately the past 12 months just discussing how best, you know, to advance the project and maintain good relationships in the local area.

So, yeah, I’ll handover to Danny first and Danny will talk and I’ll complete the final part of the presentation, so go ahead Danny.

Danny Grellet

Okay, might as well flick to the next slide.

For those of you who haven’t met me before, I was the podgy faced kid at BP putting petrol in your car from 2000 to 2004 or 2005 and worked in those areas for quite some time.

I grew up in Great Western.

I own a farm in Great Western now.

I went to primary school in Great Western and a school in Stawell.

I’ve spent a long time in the area and I’m quite passionate about the area and making sure we improve it and it becomes a better place to live for us all.

And to that end I’m pretty excited to be a part of the Gippsland Prospecting team and Battery Minerals, and the opportunities we’re going to be providing all the local area, all of the people going forward it’s a glowing time to be part of the team.

So also as part of our team we have Kent who we’ve met, and another fellow by the name of Alan Marlow.

He’s another geologist the same as Kent, they are both geologists by trade with plenty of experience and know how – they’ve confused me a couple of times already by describing the rocks.

If you ever need a bit of advice on what rock looks like and how to interpret it, they’re the fellows to take us on that journey.

Also on board we have Naomi Scott.

Naomi Scott has a wealth of experience in this type of community engagement and we’re extremely fortunate to have her as part of the team.

One of the absolutely incredibly phenomenal wonderful things about Naomi, she has a UN peacekeeper background which is just crazy considering what we’re trying to do, and we’re extremely lucky to have her on board.

There’s a slide jump there for you guys.

Can you guys see the slide step?

[Slide: Environment & sustainability]

All right, so Donna did a wonderful job of explaining what an exploration licence is and went through some pretty good particulars about how the relationship between an exploration company and the local community might go forward.

I’m just going to try and touch on a few more points more specific to our area and what we’re trying to achieve, particularly with environment and sustainability in mines.

So as I said I’m a local farmer and I’m quite keen to make sure that the place is as we find it, we’ll leave it either in a better place or if not the same when we depart.

A few of the key considerations that we’ve been discussing with myself and a few other people around, is how do we improve it.

And these a couple of dot points which will help us go on that journey, and if there’s anything that you, as a landholder, or a concerned citizen concerned about, or could potentially help us out with in this type of respect then please get in touch with us and we’ll try and understand your issues and build them into how we might be able to help out.

A few of the dot points we’re really seeing windbreaks, so a lot of the farms around the area, the district have significant windbreaks along creek lines and erosion areas that have been chipped away over the last several years, and what we would try and do is help local land care groups develop a lot more trees along these creeks and eroded areas to produce more windbreaks, and it ties into erosion revegetation.

The next one is wildlife rescue, I’m sure as you’re all aware of the wildlife in the areas, there’s thousands and thousands of kangaroos and I don’t quite enough ever gets put into ensuring that the systems or the infrastructure we have in place to look after those animals is there, so where and if we can we’re going to try and help out there.

And regenerative agriculture, it’s a bit of a contentious point at the moment but going forward I think it’s going to be one of the highlighted features of how monocultural farms operate.

If we can do more to turn farms into (inaudible) and help the earth then, yeah, it’s going to be a good thing for us all, it’s something we value indicatively.

As I said, these are all the ideas that have been put forward of how to improve the area and the landholders within the area.

So as I said, yeah, if there’s anything else you want to do then come to us and we’ll try and build it in to how we can help you out.

[Slide: Land Holder Consultation process]

The next slide we’ve got is just a quick community consultation process, or more of a road map and timing of when we think we get on the ground.

So as discussed, we’ve been awarded the licence, or Gippsland Prospecting was awarded a licence and Battery Minerals is supporting Gippsland.

So from now until January there’ll be plenty of meetings like this one, hopefully more face-to-face now that COVID’s eased off a little bit and we get out into town halls and actually meet people on the ground and get the team, the geologists on the ground a meet people.

And there’ll also be many more newspaper articles and a few more radio ads just advertising that very fact that we’ll be doing community town hall meetings.

So from Feb to March there’ll be – hopefully we’ll start negotiating grounds with landholders if and when it suits you guys and that you’re willing, and then from Phase 3 onwards it’ll be just more continual engagement and trying to identify targets of interest with the geology and how we might develop those ideas with priorities.

So what’s been related clearly now is that it is, yes, the minerals belong to everyone in Australia and they’re owned by the government, but what’s not clearly understood is, or really communicated with exploration licences, more often than not the resource or potential resource is quite deep in the ground, and if it’s not suitable to drill on a particular landholder’s place then there are many other options which an explorer can do to try and achieve the same results with their exploration program.

And it’s not as if there’s an immediate necessity to gain access to one particular farm or landholder.

[Slide: Future Resource Development]

But before Donna spoke about the odds or the percentages in terms of how the resources are developed and turned into mines, I’m a mining engineer by background and I do plenty of feasibility studies that either don’t ever come to fruition because the economics aren’t there or there are environmental impact statements which just preclude the mine from ever developing.

There obviously are exceptions throughout Australia where mines do come up such as the Adani Mine or areas particularly just in the Hunter Valley where coal mining is right next door to landholders that are (inaudible) but for the most part it is extremely rare to find the mineral resource and turn it into a profitable mine.

And these are just some of the stats that came from Rio Tinto in the past couple of years, so one in 1,000 are the odds of a greenfield mineral target becoming a profitable mine; one in 3,333 are the odds of a greenfield mineral target becoming a world-class mine; and the amount of gold deposits with enough gold to justify any further development is about 10%.

And considering the amount of mines we actually have in Australia that produce gold and the fraction of those that make up those 10% the odds are pretty low that something will ever get up.

In saying that it is our hope that we discover a world-class deposit in the area which, to my logic, it’d be a wonderful thing to have something like the Stawell Gold Mine keep providing for the district and boosting the local economy.

[Slide: Minerals Exploration]

So, what does minerals exploration mean for the landholders and the people in the community?

Donna’s touched on, well she’s covered off basically everything, but I’ll just quickly go over what we’ve got.

This is more just talking to who we are as people the company and what our intents are, and we want to be completely open and transparent with everyone that we come across and have the opportunity to work with.

So I’ll be the main point of contact for the community liaison and getting out on the ground and making sure that we’re a good branded company and we’re doing the right thing by everyone.

So the main thing that we’ll be chasing in the next little while is requests for consent for land where we identify some priority targets, and when we do that then we’ll reach out to those people with those priority properties and try and negotiate some sort of agreement.

Where possible exploration budget will be spent within local economy, so I’m not too sure if people are familiar with what Navarre Minerals and Stavely Minerals have been doing in the district, but Stavely Minerals recently bought the Willaura Pub and are spending a good deal of money in Willaura, and I’ve already seen property prices up in Willaura, not that’s a great thing but there’s a lot of money being spent in Willaura.

And Navarre Minerals are also spending quite a bit of money in the district, and all that money flows through to the local economy, and as Donna mentioned people that own the pubs and the cafés and the restaurants are benefiting from it indirectly or directly.

So the on field reconnaissance, when we do negotiate the landholder agreements we try to get on the property and initially it will just be doing such things as soil samplings and picking up rocks, and you’ll probably see Kent and Alan, the geologists, staring at rocks and looking quite puzzled and me just walking off because I just don’t understand all their – they’ve got – they’re rare academic breed of geologist conversation going but they will be the first real step of exploration.

Before we negotiate the landholder access there’s a good chance you’ll see geologists on roadsides just having a look around and maybe picking up the odd rock here and there.

So beyond that, once we start to development the ideas of what the geology is doing and where are the central targets are, there’s potentially for machinery such as drills, trucks are likely to be entering properties, which will then also tie into a landholder agreement and potential conversation of what we might have to do or negotiate to go onto the property.

Initially it will just be Alan and Kent kicking around and a few other people on the ground, but once drilling and some more mechanical type tools are involved we roughly think there’ll be a maximum of five people on site at any one time.

[Slide: What are our values?]

So again, more to who we are and what we are rather than the company and the corporate side of structures, is just a few points of what those are, and really this is just what you’d expect for any normal and respecting human being to have as a good set of morals and ethics.

So again we’re going to be open and transparent as much as we can.

Understand and respecting the needs and aspirations of local people, so back to the first slide where I was talking about what we can do to help you, and if there is something that the company can assist with such as planning out tree lines and the like then please come forward and have a chat to us about your issues if there are any and how we might be able to help.

So we’ll be acting in a responsible manner at all times.

So as Donna pointed out, minerals exploration companies are bound to many different acts and legislations.

It’s probably one of the most regulated industries amongst all industries in the country, so yes we’ve been granted a licence but to try and get on the ground and keep pushing there’s a huge amount of paperwork and handles that we need to get through it and justify before anything really gets happening in earnest, so we’re making sure we act honestly to all those pieces of legislation and acts.

Conducting heritage surveys where appropriate with the relevant authorities, obvious tied in with the protected indigenous sites of cultural and spiritual significance.

I believe the Djab Wurrung people in our district are quite active and they’re a fairly respected group of landholders and also the natural owners of the district so we make sure we consult with those groups so we’re compliant with their specific sites and policies.

So we’re identifying commercial opportunities for local businesses, so as I said there’s going to be plenty of money floating around, there already is from Navarre and Stavely, a lot, we’re just going to add to that and boost local economy more, and there’s going to be lots of opportunities for local businesses.

And I’ve already spoke about complying with the legal requirements and the acts, so we’ll make that our minimum standard, and where possible try and adopt a best practice.

I’m not too sure if people from the area how mines have operated around Australia but mines have got one of the strongest safety cultures out of any industry above construction and even better than construction.

For instance, I was a ventilation engineer for mines for four and a half years and the air quality standards we had comply by to allow people to work underground were, in some areas, better than some Asian countries, so that just gives you an idea of the level of restrictions and the compliance that we adhere to and go above and beyond as an industry.

[Slide: The company]

This is just a quick one, we go over value of the board, more just to show that it’s not a too big company and we’ve got plenty of support and some wonderful on the board.

You won’t see these people really other than Kent and I, only every now and then, and perhaps David, but this slide is just more to show that we a legit company and we’re fully engaged with making sure we’re doing the right and complying by all the standards.

[Slide: Why do we want to explore in Western Victoria?]

And now I’ll handover to Kent who is the Chief Geologist for Battery Minerals.

Kent Balas

Thanks very much Danny, that’s a great introduction.

So as Danny mentioned, our goal is obviously to find gold and copper but also to improve the local area that we’re in.

And as Danny said, we want to leave this place better than what we found it.

And as also has been put out by Donna and Danny, we are remarkably unsuccessful business, mineral exploration, but that doesn’t stop us trying.

So what I wanted to explain on this slide is just briefly about the geology and how the direct exploration process works.

If we first look at the image in the centre there with the, sort of, golden and purple colours, you can see our exploration licencing in green.

And the gold areas, sort of, reflects the boundary of the geological terrain.

So what it, sort of, means to the golden area to the east of that central line which is called the Moyston Fault, we’re predominantly looking for gold deposits.

And to the west of that line in that purple area we’re looking for copper and gold deposits.

The geology that is reflected in that purple area runs all the way down to Stavely Minerals projects, and the geology reflected in the gold area runs down to Navarre Minerals projects.

If we look to the picture on the left there what we’ve got is a whole lot of prospect areas we’ve identified from research and historical data, so there’s previous explorers have been out in the area, some of you may have seen them over the past 30 or 40 years, and done quite a lot of work with drilling, soil sampling, airborne surveys, and what we’ve tried to do over the past couple of years is collate all that data and make sense of it.

So we’ve already identified several prospect areas, as the local people know, there’s a lot of mine shafts left in the area from back in the 1800s, nineteenth century, and so part of our job is using that historical work that’s been done to better understand where there’s eventually economic deposit.

Now, what I’ll remind everyone, this exploration licence is about 800 square kilometres, and we’re looking for something with quite a small footprint in the order of hundreds of metres, so you could equate it to looking for a needle in a haystack.

The other point I’ll make is that, go to the next slide please.

[Slide: Example of field reconnaissance areas of interest]

The other point I’ll make is we don’t need to access all properties, you know, a lot of the areas are not prospective and we’re able to understand that from satellite data, previous historical data.

We’re only interested in quite specific areas and so what this slide tries to show is how we think about understanding the geology and that’s a rainbow coloured map.

I’ll look first at the map on the left, is an airborne magnetics signature of the land, and so the pink equates to high magnetics, and the reason we like high magnetics is generally the rocks that are mineralised with metals have a higher magnetic signature than the rocks that don’t.

So these maps are, sort of, my working maps, the way I think about it, you know, I look at these magnetic signatures and one side of the magnetics usually might be more interesting than the other for various reasons.

And then I’ll say look, I’d like to look along that red line and just have a look at the rocks, and that’s our first step.

We just go out, Alan and myself, pick up rocks and look at them.

So if we come around and request to go on your property we’re not bringing in heavy equipment, as a first stage we’re just looking at rocks.

And we might go on your property, look at some rocks and go, oh we’re in the wrong spot.

The image on the right is a similar image, the yellow dots there are previous soil samples that have been done by explorers and that, sort of, gives us some vectors to where there might be a deposit that’s not been found yet.

To give everyone an idea, the type of footprint, if by chance we are successful, the type of footprint and mine we create is similar to what you see in the centre of Stawell now.

I assume everyone would know the Stawell Mine in the centre of Stawell, that’s the footprint of what we’re looking for.

[Slide: What is our goal?]

So yeah, as I said, what is our goal?

We want to discover a world-class mine.

The potential economic impact of a world-class mine is impossible to overstate, but as an example there’s a massive mine in Mongolia called Oyu Tolgoi that contributes approximately 30% of Mongolia’s (inaudible).

So if we were successful in Victoria there’d be a (inaudible) boost to the state of Victoria, you know, it’s that type of scale.

I’m not saying we have succeeded but that’s what we’re trying to do.

At the same time we want to be good citizens of this place, you know, we’re absolutely not about destroying the environment, we’re absolutely committed to protect the environment and improving it, as Danny mentioned, engage in the first instance with local land care groups and trying to further the goals of those groups.

[Slide: Please contact us]

So that’s the, sort of, crux of it.

If you’ve got any questions please feel free to reach out to myself, Danny or Naomi.

I’m currently in Stawell Caravan Park right now, I’ll be here for probably the next two or three weeks.

We’ll be moving out into the district in the New Year, so we’ll be visible, be contactable, if you got concerns or questions please call us.

We’re approachable, we’re not, you know, we’re reasonable people and as I said we’re very keen to be a good member of the local community, so thanks very much for everyone’s time.

Brett Millsom

Thanks Kent that was great.

We’ll now have the opportunity for questions and we’ve had plenty of questions come through on the chat, and also some that have been submitted beforehand.

So I might start with you Kent.

The first one is around do you have idea or areas of where you might be targeting first?

Kent Balas

Yeah, so the initial areas we’re targeting are some areas of crown land, such as (inaudible) and the Illawarra state forests where we’re just going to be, as I said, looking at rocks.

And then we’ve got a few particular landholders that wouldn’t be in contact with where we’d like to gain access and do some, what we call field mapping.

So the particular landholders involved we’ll get in touch directly.

Danny and myself will come out and have a yak to the relevant people that have this week however we’re conducting some rock chip sampling just on roadsides around the district.

So if you see Alan or myself out there stop and say Gidday, Dan’s more than happy to tell you about geology if you are interested.

Brett Millsom

Great, thanks for that Kent.

The next one’s for you Donna.

We’ve got a question around access, someone’s asked can they refuse access to their property if someone opposes mining?

So, I might hand over to you for that one Donna.

Donna Mongan

Yes of course.

Well, as mentioned during presentation the crown owns the minerals, landholders and occupiers therefore do not have the absolute power to control access to their land for exploration.

The Minerals Resource Sustainable Development Act 1990 allows access to freehold land for exploration activity with the prior consent of the landholder and/or occupier including compensation if applicable.

If consent is not given or a compensation agreement is not reached then compensation can be determined by VCAT.

Once compensation has been determined by VCAT or the Supreme Court exploration may be undertaken on that landholder’s property.

Parties are encourage to resolve disputes regarding land access and any compensation with independent mediation advisors if necessary.

Brett Millsom

Thanks Donna, and we might stay with you for the next question.

What compensation does a landholder receive if they are approached by an explorer who wishes to access their land?

Donna Mongan

Well compensation can be cash or kind Brett, and it does need to be negotiated with the explorer.

It could be a financial payment, or it could be fencing, or a road or track maintenance.

It could cover a whole bunch of things, so again, unlike with wind farms or other types of developments going on, there’s no set compensation agreement in place, it does need to be negotiated with the explorers and the individuals themselves.

Brett Millsom

Thanks Donna.

I think we’re pretty good folks.

Thanks all

[Slide: The live event has ended]

Page last updated: 07 Oct 2021