Dargues Gold Mine Information

Dargues Gold Mine Information Line: 1800 732 002


Dargues Reef, part of the 659 km2 Majors Creek Gold Project situated approximately 60km southwest of Canberra, just north of the village of Majors Creek. Unity holds 100% of the project since its purchase of Cortona Resources in early 2013. Currently under development, Dargues Reef will comprise an underground decline mine, a run-of-mine pad, temporary waste rock emplacement, crushing facility, gold processing plant, tailings storage facility and associated infrastructure situated on 403 hectares of freehold land. Due for start-up by the end of 2013, the mine is targeted ramp up quickly to an annualised production rate of 50,000 ounces per year. Dargues Reef holds 2.17 million tonnes of ore containing 327,000 ounces of gold resource at 5.3 grams per tonne, with reserves of 233,000 ounces.

The project is located in the highly prospective Lachlan Fold Belt of the Southern Tablelands region of New South Wales. The area represents the largest alluvial goldfield in the state, with gold production at the turn of the last century estimated at 1.25 million ounces. In addition to Dargues Reef, some 24 other historic hard rock mines have been verified. Mineralisation occurs in various types of quartz veins, and much of the gold is free-milling.

More Information can be found here.


Price of Gold


DRCCC - Minutes of December 2016 Meeting

Minutes of Twenty-second Meeting The DRCCC held its 22 nd meeting on 13 December 2016 at the Dargues Gold Mine Site at Majors Creek Road. 

13/01/2017 - PYBAR Newsletter - ISSUE 08 / SUMMER 2016-17

For Our Information
PYBAR Newsletter

12/01/2017 - Community Information Session - Photos

12/01/2017 - Community Information Session

Community Information Session -
• Introductions
• Dargues Gold Mine – Project Information
• Status of the mine
• What to expect over the next 12 months
• Environment and Community
• Supplier Information
• Employment Opportunities
• Concluding Comments

Attached is the Presentation

11/01/2017 - Dargues Gold Mine - PYBAR



Majors Creek
New South Wales

The Dargues Gold Mine is located approximately 60km southeast of Canberra, 13km south of Braidwood and immediately north of the village of Majors Creek. The Dargues Reef ore body was originally discovered in the early 1870’s by Mr. James Dargue. Mining over the next 20 years consisted of sinking the Main Shaft and development of a small open cut. Additional shafts were excavated between 1870 and 1891 and then again between 1914 and 1916 by various parties. Historic gold production from Dargues Reef is estimated at a minimal 2,000t at a grade of 14g/t Au.

Since 2004, in excess of 340 holes have been drilled at Dargues Reef. The identified resources and reserves within the Project were last updated in June 2010, and stand at 1.615Mt @ 6.3g/t Au (327,300 oz of gold). A scoping study confirmed that the project is cash positive at a gold price of $1,150/oz and an average grade of 6g/t Au. The study concluded that the Project would support a viable underground mining operation. Since the initial study a Definitive Feasibility Study and an Environmental Assessment has been conducted and the potential for an even more robust project identified.

The project represents the first new gold mine to be approved in NSW since Lake Cowal more than ten years ago.

The Dargues Gold Project will comprise an underground gold mine (decline), a run-of-mine (ROM) Pad, temporary waste rock emplacement, crushing facility, gold processing plant, tailings storage facility and associated infrastructure.

The application area for the Project infrastructure covers an area of approximately 403ha of freehold land owned by the Company.


Mining practices will include the following.

Extraction of waste rock and ore material from the Dargues Reef deposit using underground sub-level open stope mining methods.
Construction and use of surface infrastructure required for the underground mine, including a box cut, portal and decline, magazines, fuel store, ventilation rise and power and water supply.
Construction and use of a processing plant and office area which would include an integrated ROM pad/temporary waste rock emplacement, crushing, grinding, gravity and floatation circuits, site offices, workshop, laydown area and associated infrastructure.
Construction and use of a tailings storage facility, a water management system and a site access road, ancillary infrastructure, including soil stockpiles, core yards, internal roads and tracks and surface water management structures.
Transportation of gold concentrate from the Project Site to customers via public roads.
Construction and rehabilitation of a final landform that would be geotechnically stable and suitable for a final land use of agriculture and/or nature conservation.


The Dargues Gold Mine Definitive Feasibility Study for a +50,000oz pa gold operation has been completed. The underground mine and infrastructure designed. The operation will mine 330,000t pa using conventional long hole open stope mining methods via a decline.

The plant is designed to extract half the gold via a simple gravity process and also produce a sulphide concentrate, containing the other half of the gold. The end result is a state of the art, modern, environmentally friendly gold processing facility designed on the principals of ecologically sustainable development that will boast a very small surface footprint.

25/07 - Mine seeks longer life

If a modification to the Dargues Reef Gold Mine, at Majors Creek, is approved, the mine may finally be able to begin operating. 

The modification being sought includes expanding the mines operational life from August 31, 2018, to December 31, 2024, increasing the approved maximum ore extraction from 1.2 to 1.6 million tonnes, constructing and using a storage area for waste rock storage, constructing and using a vehicle crossing over Spring Creek and amending the project boundary. 

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has recommended to the Planning and Assessment Commission that the modification, put forward by Diversified Minerals, who bought Unity Mining, be approved.

Diversified Minerals is not seeking approval to use cyanide at the Majors Creek site, or to change the design of the approved tailings storage facility, like Unity Mining did.

Deua Valley resident Tom Wells, who opposes the mine, is “disappointed” in the recommendation. 

“The department gives this recommendation for approval despite the overwhelming majority of the local community and broader public opposing it,” he said. 

“Two shire councils also object: Palerang, in which the mine site is located, and Eurobodalla, whose primary drinking water source, the Deua River, stands to receive any pollution that escapes the mine site.”

Mr Wells said, while assessment commissions determination will matter, the gold mine is “not viable” without the latest modification being approved.

“The current mining license expires on August 31, 2018, and ore extraction has not yet commenced. It takes one to two years just to bring the mine up to full operation,” he said. 

“The extension of operational life is a crux of the modification.”

The planning commission is holding a meeting at Braidwood Serviceman’s Club on July 26 at 9am to hear the publics’ views on the report and recommendation before determining the proposal. Speakers must register by contacting Aaron Brown on 9383 2112 before July 21 to make a presentation. 

09/12 - Unity Mining agrees to A$33m takeover.

junior Unity Mining has executed a scheme implementation agreement with Diversified Minerals, which would result in the shareholder acquiring all the shares in Unity.

Diversified Minerals, which held a 13.69% interest in Unity, was offering 2.9c for the shares it did not already own, the gold junior reported on Monday.
The offer would comprise 1c a share to be received through an equal capital reduction and 1.9c a share as scheme consideration for Diversified Minerals.
Unity told shareholders that the total consideration represented a 45% premium to the company’s last closing price on December 4, and a 128% premium to the 12-month volume-weighted average price, implying a value of A$33.2-million to the company.

Unity chairperson Clive Jones pointed out that throughout the second half of 2015, Unity had initiated an internal assessment of its strategy in light of the decision to cease production at the Henty gold mine in late 2015, and to not proceed with a cyanide processing plant at the Dargues gold projects.
The review examined ways to maximise shareholder value, with Jones saying the company had received “several approaches” from a number of parties expressing interest in various asset transactions and other strategic initiatives.

“The strategic review has enabled the company to assess all available options and the board has concluded that the transaction [with Diversified Minerals] is superior to all alternatives, having regard to the certainty which the transaction delivers to shareholders and the value which is being recognised for Unity’s assets over and above its underlying cash position.”

Jones said that based on the proposed transaction timeline, over an approximate six-month period, Unity shareholders would have received a total of 3.4c in cash back from the company, taking into account the capital return concluded in September this year.

“Underpinning the strategic review was the board’s concern that capital markets remain challenging for the junior resources sector, and Unity was entering into a period where revenue will have ceased and substantial capital would be needed going forward to fund its existing portfolio of assets.”
Jones added that the proposed transaction removed exposure to the development and funding risks for Unity shareholders regarding the Dargues gold project and the Henty project, and provided shareholders with an opportunity to realise value for their shares.

The Unity board has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the offer, which was subject to a number of conditions, including shareholder approval, an independent expert evaluation of the offer, and other customary conditions.

The transaction was not subject to any financing, due diligence or regulatory approvals, other than those associated with implementing the scheme of arrangement.

08/09 - Unity Mining withdraws cyanide processing bid at Majors Creek

Gold miner Unity Mining is withdrawing its proposal to use cyanide processing at an underground mine near Majors Creek, east of Canberra.

An overwhelming majority of about 400 submissions to the NSW Planning and Environment Department including from government agencies, objected to the proposal.

Most objectors, including Eurobodalla Shire Council and specialist scientists, believed cyanide waste in a huge tailings dam above the South Coast's water catchment would find its way into the drinking catchment for up to 100,000 people.

Majors Creek Catchment Guardians president Matt Darwon is overjoyed at the withdrawal. "It was the only way to go. I am very happy, thankful everybody pulled together. We were resolved that this was not right, I think it is a great outcome. It didn't have community support."

Mr Darwon has vowed to target the NSW Government's initial approval of the mine, saying it too was based on flawed data.

The decision is too late for Araluen orchardist Robyn Clubb who ripped out 25,000 peach trees out of her orchard last month. The risk of a cyanide spill upstream was the last straw for the orchardist, who previously battled supermarkets, poor seasons and uncertainty.

Author and downstream resident Jackie French said four years ago she was prepared to give the miners the benefit of the doubt. But pollution in Majors Creek and the cyanide proposal had angered her.

Now Ms French is relieved, but angry she has lost so much time writing submissions fighting the mine, when she could have been writing children's books. "This was a stupid project, a tragedy," Ms French said.

Former chief research scientist with the CSIRO Dr Emmett O'Loughlin said last month the tailings dam's design was seriously flawed. Dr O'Loughlin said data in an environmental assessment to support modifying the mine underestimated rainfall and overestimated evaporation.Rainfall data used to calculate monthly inputs to the tailings dam, claimed by Unity Mining to be from Braidwood Weather Station, were incorrect and significantly different from rainfall statistics published by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Dr O'Loughlin said.

As well as withdrawing the application to modify the mine, Unity's chief executive Andrew McIlwain, has resigned. Mr McIlwain had previously assured the community cyanide would not be used, but later said it was not dangerous in mining operations.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr McIlwain said: "In light of the volume and intensity of opposition and the significant length of time involved with the required regulatory processes for this, withdrawing the plan for cyanide use is the right thing to do.

"In most part we'll be reverting back to the originally approved development plan, so we're continuing to assess a range of off site processing options. We will, however, continue to seek approval for the relatively minor modifications in the application," he said.

"It's still a viable project and will deliver significant benefits to the local community and economy. Unfortunately, I won't be at the helm to see the project to fruition," said Mr McIlwain.

Unity Mining's non-executive chairman, Clive Jones, thanked Mr McIlwain for his hard work.

"During his tenure he's overseen the strong production and operational performance of the Henty Gold Mine in Western Tasmania and a significant turn-around in the company's financials," Mr Jones said in the statement.

The miner wanted to expand the tailings dam from nine to 16 hectares. Concerns of heavy rain washing pollutants downstream arose earlier after Unity pleaded guilty in the Land and Environment Court to polluting Spring and Majors Creek three times in 2013.

Unity had failed to install adequate sediment and erosion controls and was ordered to pay $103,000 for creek restoration work.


08/09 - Unity Mining abandons plans to use cyanide at Dargues Reef Gold Mine in southern NSW

Unity Mining has dropped a proposal to use cyanide at a gold mine in near Braidwood in southern New South Wales.

The company had sought approval to use the deadly chemical to process ore at the Dargues Reef Gold Mine.

But 84 per cent of the 400 public submissions to the NSW Department of Planning were opposed to the proposal.

In a statement today, the company said its board unanimously decided not to proceed with the application in light of "strong community and stakeholder objections" and the long timeframe for approvals.

Unity Mining also said its chief executive and managing director Andrew McIlwain would stand down at the end of the month.

It said non-executive chairman Clive Jones and non-executive director Ronnie Beever would also retire from the board.

Eurobodalla mayor Lindsay Brown said it was a big win for the community.

"It's people power at its most visual," Cr Brown said.

"Eurobodalla Shire Council and Palerang also had the support of the local member in Andrew Constance and also the strong support of John Barilaro, the member for Monaro, who has Palerang Council under his watch.

"So it was joining all those forces together and of course I think the company sort of realised that they were on pretty much a hiding to nothing on this one."

The Department of Planning had received submissions about the proposed changes from stakeholders such as NSW Water, the Department of Primary Industries and the Eurobodalla and Palerang councils.

Many of the submissions focused on the risk of waste chemicals leaking into surrounding water catchments.

The Environment Protection Authority submission said the "heavy metal tailings and residual cyanide at the top of a water catchment poses significant environmental and community risk that cannot be effectively mitigated."



08/09 - Sayonara Cyanide

PDF icon ASX update 08/09419.68 KB

Unity Mining has decided not to proceed with its proposal for onsite processing with cyanide at Dargues Gold Mine, “in the light of community and stakeholder feedback.”


Over 400 submissions were received  with over 80% against the proposal. The mine site is above the Araluen Valley where water comes down the Deua River to supply drinking water for tens of thousands of residents in Eurobodalla.

One submission revealed that there were serious flaws in the rainfall and evaporation data in the original mine submission. 

Further, Managing Director Andrew McIllwain will be stepping down as Managing Director  and CEO from 30 September 2015. Frank Terranova will assume the role of Acting Managing Director to facilitate the requisite transition to a new Managing Director. 

See attached ASX Update

19/08 - Councils let down by ‘expert’ report says Unity Mining

Following the release of the consultants report into the modifications proposed for the Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek, which was commissioned by Palerang and Eurobodalla Shire councils, Unity Mining released the following statement this morning. 

"Unity Mining has suggested that the GHD draft report analysing the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Dargues Gold Mine is so biased that it should be ignored by both the Palerang and Eurobodalla Councils."

Andrew McIlwain, CEO of Unity Mining said he’d never seen a report like it before.

“I’m lost for words. The report misrepresents the facts to such as degree that it is laughable. This isn’t science – this is scaremongering,” said Mr McIlwain.

Mr McIlwain said the author seemed to be attempting to play on community fears.

“For instance, he estimates the amount of various heavy metals in the tailings in a way which sounds alarmist. Three hundred kilos of mercury sounds terrible. What he omits to mention is that its 300 kilos in over 1.2 billion kilos of rock material. And many of those metals, like mercury, are trapped in the structure of the rock minerals,” said Mr McIlwain.

Mitchell Bland, Principal Environmental Consultant with Geological and Environmental consultants RW Corkery, helped prepare the EA.

“I have briefly reviewed Dr Beck’s report and note that there are a number of criticisms which we will review once the report is finalised and submitted.

“I do note however, that the language used by Dr Beck is somewhat sensationalist and that a range of statements contain errors of fact or do not accurately reflect the proposed activities.See your ad hereAccording to Mr Bland, Dr Beck previously advised Eurobodalla Shire Council during their appeal to the original approval.[Palerang Council will be holding an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday 20th August at 5pm at the National Theatre Braidwood to consider the mine modifications and hear from the community.]Palerang Council will be holding an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday 20th August at 5pm at the National Theatre Braidwood to consider the mine modifications and hear from the community.

“His report at that time was similarly critical of the Project. Each of the issues raised by Dr Beck were examined by a range of experts and, following consultation between those experts and Dr Beck, that appeal was settled with the Company agreeing to a number of minor matters related to the height of a diversion bund and identifying Council on the Project’s insurance policy,” said Mr Bland.

Mr McIlwain said the report by GHD seems to lack any understanding of the approvals process, to which it seeks to inform.

“Notably GHD throughout its report criticises our Environmental Assessment for the lack of detail on matters relating to the facility’s potential operations,” said Mr McIlwain.

The accepted planning process is to provide those detailed management procedures after approval. Conditions imposed on projects by government often have drastic implications on operational procedures. It’s therefore illogical and prohibitively expensive to provide operational detail up front.

“We still have to provide operation details and can still be refused permission to progress if they’re not up to scratch.

“We were hoping for a more objective assessment,” said Mr McIlwain.


Palerang Council will be holding an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday 20th August at 5pm at the National Theatre Braidwood to consider the mine modifications and hear from the community. 

Related stories


18/08 - DRAFT report from the consultant hired by Palerang and Eurobodalla to look into the Modifications

The draft report from the Consultant is out on the proposed modification to the Dargues Reef Mine. Very interesting reading..... It would appear that Unity Mining have a lot more work to do to their Environmental Assessment. Many of the risks have not been adequately addressed and proposed mitigation measures have not even been mentioned.......


See attached report.

14/08 - EPA's heartbreaking tragedy

PDF icon US-EPA-heartbreak.pdf303.56 KB

Tragic news on the weekend in Colorado, US, with the polluting of the Animas River. It’s perhaps made more tragic by the fact the breech was made by American EPA officers investigating an issue.It is indeed heart-breaking for those who rely on the river.

However, it’s worth looking at the fundamental differences between the Gold King mine in Colorado and our proposal near Majors Creek. Read more at the link below.




A gold mine closed since 1923.

The US EPA carrying out works make a mistake and breech a dam that hasn’t been in use for nearly a hundred years………..


There will be a Tailings dam 700m long, 400 metres wide and 32 metres deep at its deepest point in Majors Creek if Mod 3 gets approved.
Now separating all that left over mess from our world is a 5mm thick plastic membrane for the rest of eternity. A backhoe makes a mistake and cuts that membrane 55 years from now and i’ll be 100 years old. 

Please do research and be aware. Not for you, but for all those people who are not even born yet. 


User Supplied

Toxic sludge spilled from mine into Colorado river reaches New Mexico

he Animas River in August 2015, contaminated by the Gold King Mine in San Juan County. Photograph: La Planta County

The Animas River in August 2015, contaminated by the Gold King Mine in San Juan County. Photograph: La Planta County

A toxic and orange-brown sludge spilling from a shuttered gold mine into a south-western Colorado river has reached northern New Mexico.


San Juan County emergency management director Don Cooper said the plume arrived in the city of Aztec on Friday night and Farmington on Saturday morning. Officials in both cities shut down the river’s access to water treatment plants and said the communities had a 90-day supply of water and other water sources to draw from.

On Friday, San Juan County undersheriff Stephen Lowrance said: “It’s awful, it’s awful. It’s [a] horrible, horrible accident.

Of the water, Lowrance said: “You wouldn’t want to drink it – that’s for sure.”

About a million gallons of wastewater from Colorado’s Gold King Mine began spilling on Wednesday when a clean-up crew supervised by the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally breached a debris dam that had formed inside the mine.

No health hazard has been detected, but tests were being analysed. Federal officials said the spill contains heavy metals including lead and arsenic.


09/08 - MP John Barilaro concerned about cyanide processing at Majors Creek mine

MP John Barilaro won't meet with the miner until after the consultation process in August. Photo: Louise Kennerley  Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/mp-john-barilaro-doesnt-support-cyanide-processing-at-majors-creek-mine-20150809-giuut1.html#ixzz3iMhhj6pe  Follow us: @canberratimes on Twitter | CanberraTimes on Facebook

MP John Barilaro won't meet with the miner until after the consultation process in August. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Unity Mining lost the community's trust when it broke a commitment not to use cyanide in processing ore at its proposed gold mine at Majors Creek says Member for Monaro, John Barilaro.

NSW Department of Planning and Environment is assessing the miner's application to modify its development to include using cyanide to separate gold from ore.

Unity said only a low concentration of cyanide, once treated in the processing plant, will be pumped into a tailings storage dam which exceeds government guidelines and has capacity to hold more than a 1-in-1000-year downpour.

Mr Barilaro said Unity Mining has every right to modify its approval, but said there's a risk.Advertisement"If there is no cyanide on site, there is no risk, if you bring it on site, regardless of how low the risk may be, there is always a chance of something going wrong," he said.

Mr Barilaro said he would not meet Unity Mining on the issue.

"We have had a number of requests through our electoral office and ministerial office to meet in relation to this mine, I have made it clear while the [assessment] process is happening, and it is out for public consultation I won't be meeting with them, and don't want to be seen one way or the other."

He would not intervene with the process either. "The moment there is political interference for an end result in one particular direction, that could lead to a range of issues across the state."

He is aware some individuals had spoken directly with Premier Mike Baird about the project, and he was comfortable with that, but would not intervene and was satisfied with a tough assessment regime around mining and agriculture.

Mr Barilaro said going back to when the debate over a mine began in 2010 and 2011, he felt the community had struck a compromise. It had accepted the mine was important for jobs in the region, and at the same time not having cyanide processing on site was the compromise, that processing would happen off site.

"I thought that debate had come and gone, a mine was going to be built with protections in place, with no cyanide in sight. When Unity acquired the project they also gave a commitment that there was no chance of cyanide on site. Now that is where it all falls.

"I think when there is a commitment and the community buys into that commitment I think what you have done is lost the trust of the community that 12 months later, you have decided that due to economic reasons, due to a number of other reasons, you decided no, it would be better to put the cyanide on site."

Mr Barilaro said the Araluen valley and water catchment were very important. A spill from the mine could have large impacts on the region.

"The reality is, of course, the tailings dam that is proposed, the engineering design and Unity's reputation down in Tasmania has been one that if you wanted a miner in the area, it would be them," he said.

"And of course they still have to go through an assessment process with both Planning and the Planning Assessment Commission. So my view is I am still concerned, I would rather have no mine there with cyanide processing on site, but there is a process, consultation that is public until the end of August. The government and the independent Planning Assessment Commission will make some sort of determination after that."


05/08 - Bulldozer takes out 25,000 stone fruit trees at orchard over fears from a proposed gold mine

Bulldozer driver Tom O'Brien with some of the Wisbey's orchard peach trees already removed. Photo: Rohan Thomson  Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/bulldozer-takes-out-25000-stone-fruit-trees-at-orchard-over-fears-from-a-proposed-gold-mine-20150805-gis23k.html#ixzz3i249yeYW  Follow us: @canberratimes on Twitter | CanberraTimes on Facebook

Bulldozer driver Tom O'Brien with some of the Wisbey's orchard peach trees already removed. Photo: Rohan Thomson

A year after these peach trees have been torn from their roots in the rich creek flats of Araluen Valley they will be torched and burned to ash.

A new peach tree takes three years before it produces enough to return a profit to its owner, but contractor Tom O'Brien's Caterpillar D6 bulldozer pushes over 120 mature trees an hour. When the dozer's work is finished, 25,000 trees will have been pushed into big piles to dry out before becoming bonfires.

The risk of a cyanide spill upstream at a proposed gold mine was the last straw for the orchardist, who previously battled supermarkets, poor seasons and uncertainty.

Left alone trees will attract pests like fruit fly and make the land they stand on less attractive for sale. Photo: Rohan Thomson  Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/bulldozer-takes-out-25000-stone-fruit-trees-at-orchard-over-fears-from-a-proposed-gold-mine-20150805-gis23k.html#ixzz3i24LjwVI  Follow us: @canberratimes on Twitter | CanberraTimes on Facebook

Left alone trees will attract pests like fruit fly and make the land they stand on less attractive for sale.

Owner Robyn Clubb,​ who has invested $1 million  in tree replacement, cool room upgrades, accommodation for staff, a cafe and tray assembly shed, cannot sell the orchard as a going concern.

Left alone trees will attract pests like fruit fly and make the land they stand on less attractive for sale. The orchard was listed for sale last September and did not attract a bid, and the district is divided over whether the proposed gold mine upstream at Majors Creek is to blame.

Some people  support the mine and its promised job opportunities, while others are dismayed that, like the Chinese coal interests on the Liverpool Plains in the New England's cropping district, mining will ruin the land and water catchments.

The orchard peach trees are being bulldozed, because the orchards cannot be sold as a going concern. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The orchard peach trees are being bulldozed, because the orchards cannot be sold as a going concern.

Mrs Clubb says without leadership to protect farming country, Australians will be forced to buy more food from overseas not knowing what chemicals have been used in its production.

"The orchard brought bees to the valley, we have killed over 200 feral pigs and lots of foxes, who will do all that when we go?" she said.

Those attacking her decision through social media had no understanding of what was required to run a business, Mrs Clubb said.

 The Wisbey family established the orchard 70 years ago. People travelled from Cooma, Goulburn and  Canberra to load up their cars with plump, juicy peaches and nectarines. At the peak of Mrs Clubb's tenure the orchard produced 500 tonne of fruit.

This winter the trees were not fertilised or sprayed with winter oil and copper to prevent scale and curley leaf. Orchard staff once lit coal and wood fires under the trees at midnight to ward off frosts and worked 14-hour days in the picking season, which ended with big trucks hauling fruit to the Sydney markets.  

Eurobodalla councillor Gabi Harding says Unity Mining's bland assurances that tailing dam spills don't occur in Australia looks hollow given that in 2014 the miner was fined almost $200,000 for a pollution spill into Spring and Majors creeks.  

But Unity says its proposed tailings dam exceeds government guidelines, and the facility's designers have been involved with over 400 similar facilities.


03/08 - Unity Mine cyanide proposal threatens Araluen Valley, says author Jackie French

Jackie French near Majors Creek. 'I am frightened for the life and safety of those I love,' she says. Photo: Melissa Adams  Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/unity-mine-cyanide-proposal-threatens-araluen-valley-says-author-jackie-french-20150802-giq1wc.html#ixzz3hqAMfrEw

Jackie French near Majors Creek. 'I am frightened for the life and safety of those I love,' she says. Photo: Melissa Adams

Children's author Jackie French and neighbouring orchardist Robyn Clubb fear a cyanide spill upstream could poison the lush Araluen Valley, east of Canberra.

"I am frightened for the life and safety of those I love. I am frightened for myself, too," says Ms French, who is fighting gold miner Unity Mining's attempt to use cyanide to process ore upstream at Majors Creek.

A bulldozer arrived at Mrs Clubb's stone fruit orchard on Monday to push over 25,000 trees because she cannot risk a spillage upstream, where the mine's sediment dams failed in heavy rain in 2013.

Ms French says if NSW Planning and Environment allows Unity to modify its activities, they will use cyanide to separate gold from ore. "Instead of the heavy metals lead, zinc, cadmium, uranium and other potentially deadly heavy metals being trucked [off site], these heavy metals will sit in a tailings dam on the steep site at the top of the Majors Creek/Deua/Moruya catchment, above Eurobodalla's water supply, farms, businesses and households.

"If – or when – there is an overflow, this tailings dam is only 10 minutes away from us as the water rushes down the slope below the mine site and over the escarpment. One major cyanide spill could be deadly to us, our near neighbours and the endangered wildlife of the valley."

Unity Mining chief executive Andrew McIlwain said that, under the proposal, cyanide would be in dedicated tanks, deep within concrete walls.

Sludge from cyanide processing would be pumped to the tailings dam, which exceeded government guidelines, and surface water would be channelled around it, not captured by it.

"In a highly unlikely event such as a one in 1000 year downpour, water will overflow via a spillway and not compromise the tailings storage facility," Mr McIlwain said.

"Given low initial concentrations and influx of high water volume, outflow in Spring Creek would have a cyanide concentration of 0.0007 milligrams per litre. Drinking water standards in Australia can have a concentration of 0.08 mg/L – over 100 times above this level," he said.

'No guarantee' for landholders

Mrs Clubb said for a host of reasons she put her orchard on the market last September. She could not afford spraying and pruning over winter given the proximity of the mine. "I'm not prepared to take the risk; there is no 100 per cent guarantee a spill won't happen.

"It is hard enough without the threat of mining. We have had not one offer [to buy the orchard] and now we are subdividing, and 25,000 trees will have to be pushed out."

Mrs Clubb said Unity would need to raise $70 million to begin the mine, had to pay redundancies at its Tasmania operation and was being asked to rehabilitate sites at Bendigo. "So there is no chance of them being able to clean up any spill," Mrs Clubb said.

She said that planning approval relied on technical data which was flawed because no one, aside from the Environmental Protection Authority, looked behind the application at the proponent's business.

"What happens if the company goes bankrupt and walks away?" Mrs Clubb said.

Mr McIlwain said Unity had $60 million insurance to cover an unlikely spillage, and the project approval required a $3.1 million bond dedicated to remediate the site, which would be reviewed if the mine's proposed modification was approved.

A Unity spokesman said a tirade on Facebook, which included accusing Mrs Clubb and Ms French of being environmental vandals, was from a former Unity employee, and was not instigated by the miner.

Mrs Clubb said the abuse had included a false claim she was pumping water from the creek. "I just find it destructive and upsetting," she said.


14/07 - Environmental Assessment - Modification 3

Unity Mining is pleased to advise that the Department of Planning and Environment will place the Environmental Assessment – Modification 3 (EA) for the Dargues Gold Mine on Public Exhibition from Wednesday, 15 July 2015.
As committed to during the community consultation sessions, the EA will be made available at a number of locations throughout the region and online from the Unity Mining Website (www.unitymining.com.au).

Palerang Council Offices – Bungendore
Braidwood Library – Braidwood
Majors Creek Hotel – Majors Creek
Araluen Hotel – Araluen
Batemans Bay Library – Batemans Bay
Narooma Library – Narooma
Moruya Library – Moruya
Eurobodalla Shire Council – Moruya

We encourage all stakeholders to make a submission regarding the Modification, as it is important for us to hear from all interested parties, whether for or against the Project. Submissions can be made through the Department of Planning and Environment website (http://www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/).  

The Project Application number is 10_0054 MOD 3.

For more information please get in contact with us by:

Email – darguesinfoline@unitymining.com.au;
Phone – 1800 732 002 (free call, mobile charges may apply);
Facebook – www.facebook.com/UnityMining/; or
Twitter – twitter.com/UnityMiningLtd/.

Finally, if you know of someone who would be interested in the modification, please feel free to forward on this email. Alternatively, if you would like to subscribe to our mailing list, please send an email to darguesinfoline@unitymining.com.au with subscribe in the subject line.

09/07 - Unity Mining EA exhibition date set

UNITY Mining has been formally notified that its Environmental Assessment (EA) for proposed changes to the Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek will go on public exhibition on Wednesday.

Unity has applied for four modifications to its development consent, and submitted the EA to the NSW Planning Department at the end of January.

Unity Mining’s managing director and CEO Andrew McIllwain said the document detailed the planning, evaluation and risk assessments undertaken in relation to the proposed changes.

“It is a product of detailed engineering design and review and incorporates preliminary feedback from both the regulatory agencies and communities,” he said.

“It is important to note that the Dargues Gold Mine already has formal development approval and these modifications are seeking to enhance the projects economics and improve the potential environmental impacts.”

Mr McIllwain acknowledged the community’s concern about the proposed use of cyanide for final gold processing.

“We are very confident of the retention of all products on site and have in fact further increased the capacity of the approved tailings storage facility,” he said.

“The major benefit will be the removal of the transport of concentrate through Braidwood – which was a significant concern during the initial project approval process.”

The EA can be viewed online at the NSW Department of Planning’s website. Hard copies will also be available at shire libraries.



26/06 - Gold in the ‘Mundic’: The Saga of Dargue’s Reef, Majors Creek

PDF icon Gold in the Mundic McQueen.pdf12.67 MB

Looking for photos of the early operations at Dargue's reef and I am sure there must have been some taken, particularly of the chlorination plant. If you come across any please let me know.


Thanks Cheers Ken


From : Journal of Australasian Mining History, Vol. 12, 2014

BY KEN MCQUEEN IAE, University of Canberra

Gold is found in bedrock reefs and lodes, generally in its elemental form, as well as in secondary deposits formed by weathering and erosion of these primary occurrences (for example, alluvial gold). After quartz, the mineral most commonly associated with gold is pyrite (iron sulphide) also known colloquially as ‘fools gold’ or ‘mundic’. This association has guided prospectors to new lode gold deposits, but also plagued attempts to extract the gold where the two minerals are rather too intimately associated. In these refractory ores the gold is commonly locked in the pyrite as small, in some cases sub-microscopic, inclusions or even dissolved in the pyrite host. Up until the end of the nineteenth century refractory gold ores, including those at such famous deposits as the Golden Mile, Kalgoorlie, and some of the ores on the Witwatersrand in South Africa, posed a major challenge to metallurgists. In many cases, some gold could be released by fine grinding, but a significant proportion was lost with the pyrite in the tailings. Various methods of roasting and chemical treatment, particularly using chlorination and cyanidation, were ultimately developed to recover this ‘lost’ gold.1

Dargue’s Reef, near Majors Creek in southern New South Wales (Fig. 1), is a pyritic gold deposit and the history of its mining and exploitation highlight some of the challenges and developments in extracting gold from the ‘mundic’. The deposit was discovered in 1868 by Joseph Dargue while he was mining alluvial gold in Spring Creek and it is still the largest known bedrock gold deposit in the Majors Creek area. Natural surface weathering had broken down the pyrite in the upper part of the deposit to release its contained gold. Much of the fine alluvial gold in the Majors Creek and surrounding goldfields of Jembaicumbene, Bells Creek and Araluen was probably derived from the weathering and oxidation of similar pyritic bedrock deposits.2 Within the upper oxidised zone it was relatively easy to extract the free gold by gravity separation or grinding of consolidated material and mercury amalgamation, but below this zone the difficulties of extracting gold from the unweathered ‘mundic’ soon became apparent. Over the next 140 years numerous attempts were made to profitably work the ‘mundic’ at Dargue’s Reef. All failed, although not just because of the metallurgical difficulties. Modern gold extraction methods can effectively treat pyritic ores and now a new attempt is being made to mine Dargue’s Reef. An extensive drilling program has indicated a viable resource and against some local opposition, approval has been granted to establish an underground mine. A new chapter in the history of Dargue’s Reef may be beginning. 

12/06 - Improved gold prices deliver great results at Henty

The Henty gold mine, in Tasmania, is expected to deliver A$22-million more than initially thought to Unity Mining's bottom line during the financial year ended June.

Unity MD Andrew McIlwain said on Friday that over the last 12 months, the company had successfully executed the operational plan for the mine, which coupled with the improved realised gold price, was expected to generate significant returns during the 2015 financial year.

Production during the financial year would exceed 50 000 oz, and a further 10 000 oz would be poured as production at Henty wound down towards the end of the 2015 calendar year.

As can be appreciated, when managing an asset in the transitional phase at the end of its production life, there is always potential variability in results. Henty is currently scheduled to cease production in November 2015, and I am confident we will seek to extract all of the value available from Henty while the asset transitions back to a near-term production development asset,” McIlwain said.

Unity has been working to reduce operating costs at the Henty mine, with some A$4-million removed over the last year through a reduction in headcount and remunerations, and a focus on operating costs.

Further cost reductions would be pursued in the form of reduced office space and rental costs, as well as ensuring Henty’s operating costs were further reduced where possible, as production reduced.

McIlwain said that Unity was also considering a revamp of its long-term executive incentive scheme as part of recalibrating the mix of remuneration.

Meanwhile, Unity was also considering alternatives for its Dargues gold mine, with chairperson Clive Jones saying that the company was investigating all avenues to generate value from the asset.

“Nothing is off the table regarding accelerating value for shareholders from the Dargues project. We are in a position to make some clear decisions regarding the most appropriate manner to take the development of the asset forward. Unlocking value in the near to medium term is a primary goal for the company.”

While Unity was progressing the planning modification of the Dargues mine through the New South Wales regulatory process, the company was also assessing a range of strategic alternatives and was in discussions with a number of parties on a variety of ways to maximise value. 


29/05 - What's changing at Darguesgold mine?

What's changing at #Darguesgold mine?

26/05 - Appointment of Non-Executive Director

Unity Mining is pleased to announce the appointment of Frank Terranova as a Non-Executive Director.

Mr. Terranova is a senior executive with extensive experience in corporate finance and executive management in mining and agricultural sectors. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has held a number of executive roles in ASX listed companies including Managing Director of Allied Gold Mining PLC which was acquired by St Barbara Limited in 2012 for A$560M. He subsequently became Managing Director of Polymetals Mining Limited overseeing its merger with Southern Cross Goldfields Limited and led the organisational transformation and a re-capitalisation program of that Group. Mr. Terranova is currently Chairman of Taruga Gold Limited and Chesser Resources Limited and a Non-Executive Director of the Australia Pet Welfare Foundation and currently provides advisory services to a number of companies across various sectors.

Unity Mining Chairman, Clive Jones said “Frank has a range of skills and experience that will be of great benefit to Unity as we continue to pursue our growth strategy. With the development of our Dargues Gold Mine project in NSW well advanced, Frank will be a most valuable addition to the Board.” An Appendix 3X for Mr Terranova is attached.



26/05 - Letters to the Editor

Job inquiries prove benefit


I strongly encourage members of the local community to continue researching Unity Mining’s proposed Dargues Gold Mine and making contributions to the discussion in the media and elsewhere.

There is though, one misconception, which seems to underpin some of the current conversation: the belief economic development is always in conflict with the environment.

This isn’t the case.

The actual mining and processing of gold is only a small element of what Unity does.

Much of our effort in planning, developing and running a project is about ensuring it is done safely.

We work to protect the health and safety of our workers and to protect the environment, whether in an urban setting or a more natural, pristine location. We’re held to account by a strict regulatory system.

In this context, job creation and economic benefits need not be seen in opposition to environmental concerns.

Our project will create approximately 120 jobs during its construction and a further 100 during its operation. 

Despite the fact we haven’t advertised, Unity has received more than 3000 letters of interest for jobs from all over Australia.

Many locals have applied and employing locally will be our preference.

This unprecedented demand illustrates the economic benefits of the project. 

We’re aiming to deliver a project that is a win for the local community, preserves the local environment and delivers a win to Unity and our shareholders.

Many people refer to this as triple-bottom line reporting.

For us, all three objectives are entirely consistent and equally important.

Andrew McIlwain, CEO, Unity Mining



Mayoral Minute


Eurobodalla Council has approached Palerang Council with a proposal to share the cost of engaging a consultant to help prepare a submission in response to the application by Unity Mining to modify their development conditions for the Dargues Gold Mine.


That Council approve expenditure of up to $10,000 to, in collaboration with Eurobodalla Council, engage a consultant to assist with the preparation of a submission in response to the application by Unity Mining to permit on-site ore processing at the Dargue’s Gold Mine at Majors Creek.


See attachment for full details

Overview of Mining and its Impacts

PDF icon Chapter1.pdf655.24 KB

Proposed mining projects vary according to the type of metals or materials to be extracted from the
earth. The majority of proposed mining projects involve the extraction of ore deposits such as
copper, nickel, cobalt, gold, silver, lead, zinc, molybdenum, and platinum. The environmental
impacts of large-scale mining projects involving these metal ores are the subject of this Guidebook.
The Guidebook does not discuss the mining of ores that are extracted using strip mining methods,
including aluminum (bauxite), phosphate, and uranium.

The Guidebook also does not discuss mining involving extraction of coal or aggregates, such as sand, gravel, and limestone.


See attached file or this link


20/04 - What's changing at Dargues Gold Mine?

What's changing at Darguesgold mine?

25/03 - Sayonara cyanide, says Deua comic

COMEDY A-lister Akmal Saleh will join Canberra comedians and a Deua River performer in two gigs to raise awareness about potential environmental problems at the Unity Mine at Majors Creek.

Deua River resident and comedian Hamish Hudson will host Doin’ it for the Deua gigs at Moruya Golf Club on March 27 and the Araluen Hotel on March 28.

Mr Hudson organised the concerts after he found out that Unity Mining had applied to change its development consent in order to process gold with cyanide on site at Majors Creek.

He says he has concerns about the stability of the tailings dam, which will store waste products from the mining process and traces of cyanide.

Mr Hudson said he was also very concerned about the history of environmental breaches at the site.

“If the proposal were not so scary, it would be funny,” Mr Hudson said.

“I’m trying to do my bit and let all the locals know that they have to stand up and take notice.

“If it gets through, the risk will be way too high.

“I would hate the community not to know, so we’ve got a team together to put on gigs that will spread the word.

“People can be informed about the risks we’re being asked to accept and make up their own minds.”

Mr Hudson said he hoped the shows would have a wide appeal.

“It’s not going to be an out-and-out mine bash, it’s going to be a great night of comedy,” he said.

“I wanted to engage people and have a great night.”

Mr Hudson, who lives beside the river, said he was not a member of The Greens, nor was he anti-mining or anti-development.

He is, however, “anti-somebody putting cyanide right next to a river”.

“It’s an incredibly beautiful part of the world and we feel very lucky to be custodians of our patch – hopefully for the rest of our lives,” he said.

“I would hate to see this mine get approval to process (with cyanide) on site, not just for my family, but for the coastal areas of Moruya and Batemans Bay that gain much of their water supply from the Deua.

“We are all people who are going to suffer.

“Unity Mining has already leaked contaminants into Majors Creek and been fined by the EPA as a result.

“I don’t think they should be allowed to handle cyanide next to that same waterway.”

Tickets are $25 online or at the door until sold out.

To book, visit www.trybooking.com, click on ‘buy tickets’ and search for ‘Deua’.



21/03 - Not quite the whole truth

MR McIllwain, the CEO of Unity Mining, seeks to reassure us that everything is hunky-dory with cyanide processing and a “prescribed dam” in the shire’s water catchment.

He even points out that the company that designed and engineered the tailings dam at Dargues Reef gold mine, Majors Creek (with a current height of 25 metres and a footprint of about 10 metres and that is before its proposed modification to mine 33 per cent more ore), is the same company that did the tailings dam that collapsed catastrophically at Mt Polley in British Columbia, last August.

He explains all that away very conveniently but fails to point out that the tailings dam was built on unstable glacial till and that some experts consider that was a contributing factor.

It leaves me wondering what factors it may have failed to take into account at Majors Creek.

For the sake of future generations, we need to stand up and speak up about this inappropriate development in the catchment.

Call or email Eurobodalla Shire Council and ask what it is planning in response to the proposed processing of ore using cyanide in the shire’s catchment.

Anne Rault

Deua River Valley


Response to Not quite the whole truth

Andrew McIlwain • 10 days ago

I note Ms Rault’s letter and wish to clarify a few points. I welcome open dialogue and the opportunity to ensure that people can make an informed assessment.

The Dargues Gold Mine is already an approved project – to recover gold from the mine, including the construction of the tailings storage facility (TSF). The area is peppered with old gold diggings and any visitor can see the remnants from historic diggings. Gold recovery this time will be achieved through gravity, chemical flotation and smelting steps. All to be conducted on site - as per the existing approvals.

The TSF is designed, and its construction will be monitored, by Knight Piésold. Objectively, the people at Knight Piésold are leaders in their field, with literally hundreds of storage facilities successfully and safely operating. This proposal has passed assessment - including the necessary geotechnical investigation of the foundations - by the NSW Dams Safety Committee which also sets a very high standard. Unity has a track record of successfully constructing and operating similar TSF’s at our Bendigo and Henty Mines.

So, the Dargues Gold Mine will be built, operated and regulated to the highest standards. The main request within the amended proposal is for the treatment of cyanide on site, and again, objectively, this can and will be conducted safely and

environmental scientist  to Andrew McIlwain • 9 days ago

Could you please explain the public good in this project besides the meagre number of jobs? You seem to be very confident that the cyanide aspect will be approved. Is this the usual 'big' business method of public consultation: telling the community what they are getting. 
From the comments I've read, community members seem to very informed and are making the appropriate assessment that this mine should just bugger off. Cyanide is deadly and accidents DO occur. Perhaps you should purchase a beautiful parcel of land on a pristine river and invite the gold miners in to ruin your lifestyle and health?

Half truths are in effect lies • 11 days ago

Well said. I agree 100%
There are simply no guarantees of any kind that the Unity gold mine can give to the community.
Mr Mcillwain, the CEO of Unity Mining is paid to advocate that this gold mine is 'as "safe" as can be'. 
Not what one can call an unbiased and bi-partisan objective view.
With NO considerations for anything else except for golden profits this mine goes against all common sense, 
and I suspect that this council would prefer to support and allow cyanide poising err processing to occur.....!

Pathetic  Half truths are in effect lies • 9 days ago

There are only two guarantees in life - taxes and death.
It would seem that the current risk averse attitude by many in today's society is testimony to their poor achievements in life and they don't want anyone or anything to succeed. This is bias as well.

bugger off gold mine  Pathetic • 9 days ago

Life is about health and well being and should not be wasted on working for a minimum wage so that big business can make huge profits. Who cares if a gold mine succeeds?




04/03 - Last-ditch effort from failing company?

AS a resident of Moruya I am very concerned about the proposal to allow cyanide processing at the Dargues Creek mine in the headwaters of the Deua River, our source of fresh drinking water.

Unity Mining was given the final go-ahead for the mine in February 2012 on the clear understanding there would be no cyanide processing on site.

It was this agreement that reassured residents about having the mine in such a sensitive environmental location.

Now, just three years later, Unity wants to include cyanide processing.

What will be next?

Will they want to truck ore in from other mines for processing, even though they assure us now this is not on the agenda?

Unity Mining is struggling – its share price is very low, the price of gold is low – building processing facilities does not come cheaply.

Surely it will want to maximise its investment in the site, especially since they have been unable to get approval to establish a processing plant elsewhere.

This company has already received significant fines for a number of environmental breaches during its construction phase.

Allowing cyanide processing would introduce materials into the tailings dam that need to be kept out of the environment for the foreseeable future.

The mine currently has an operating life of five years.

There is a very tragic history of the failure of tailings dams around the world.

Are we willing to risk this threat to our drinking water and food-producing land for a mine that will return very little to this community?

I will be making a submission against this proposal once it is on public exhibition at the shire libraries and I thank the council for making sure the information will be readily available to the community.

Robyne Stacey



04/03 - Collapse claims untrue: Unity

THE Bay Post/Moruya Examiner put Coastwatchers’ concerns to Unity Mining managing director Andrew McIllwain this week.

He said it was “rubbish” that Unity Mining did not have adequate funding to cope with a catastrophe at the mine.

“We will not start the project if we don’t consider we’ve got the resources to complete and operate it appropriately,” he said.

“Unity has the resources and the capability to manage any risks and the community can have confidence in us building and operating the project.”

Mr McIllwain said the NSW government required the company to lodge a $3 million environmental bond for the project.

On claims the tailings storage dam would not only contain traces of cyanide but also heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, copper and arsenic, Mr McIllwain said the only metals to be found in the tailings facility were those dug up from the ground in the mining process.

He denied processing with cyanide produced byproducts.

“The management of the tailings facility is such that it’s kept in a wet environment. As a consequence, it’s not acid-producing and it contains trace elements that are naturally occurring in the ground,” he said.

“When you pull up the ore, that has the trace elements in it.

“We do a full spectrum analysis. I think we look at 57 different elements in what we sample of the ore body.

“We report how much mercury might be in there – there’s none – but we analyse for those sorts of things.”

Mr McIllwain recognised previous breaches of sediment control during heavy rain at the site in 2013, when the initial earthworks were being carried out.

However, he rejected claims from several speakers at Sunday’s protest that the box cut at the mine had collapsed and sediment dams had failed.

“There has been no geotechnical failures in the box cut,” he said.

“There are sediment dams on the site, none of which have failed.

“There was inadequacy in some of our protection back in February 2013, and that has all been subject of the EPA prosecution.”



01/03 - Hundreds protest cyanide proposal

HUNDREDS gathered in Moruya on Sunday to protest Unity Mining’s proposed changes to its Majors Creek gold mine.

The company has applied for a variation to its development consent to allow final processing of gold with cyanide.

The protest began with a flotilla of kayakers, boaters and stand-up paddleboarders who made their way downstream the Moruya River from the Moruya District Hospital to the Moruya Boat Ramp, near Riverside Park.

Meanwhile about 150 people gathered on the Moruya Bridge with banners joining in protest as the watercraft floated underneath.

The entire group then gathered at Riverside Park to hear a range of speakers, including representatives from the Majors Creek Catchment Guardians, The Araluen Valley Producers and Protectors of the Ecosystems Coalition (AVPPEC), Deua River Care and the Nature Coast Marine Group.

Several Greens representatives also spoke, including Eurobodalla Greens councillor Gabi Harding as MC, Greens NSW MLC Mehreen Faruqi, Greens candidate for Monaro Peter Marshall, Greens senate candidate Justin Field and Bega Greens candidate Margaret Perger. 

The event also served as an official campaign launch for Ms Perger.

AVPPEC spokeswoman Penny Hayman said her group had formed during the inititial development of the Dargues Gold Mine and the group had been on "quite a journey" ever since.

She said the proposed changes did not meet the three aspects of sustainable development, based on economic, environmental and social principles.


“This proposal involves high riskes in the areas of human and environmental health and also threatens the economic viability of current businesses and individuals,” she said.

“The simple fact is that no matter how safe the processing might be, it comes with an element of risk – no processing, no associated risk.”

Ms Hayman said the affected communities of Majors Creek, Jembaicumbene, Araluen, Braidwood and Moruya could not trust the NSW Planning Department to help.

“We appeal to the candidates in this election, to everyone who voters: do not let this proposal sneak through as a modification with limited appeals to the Department’s decisions,” she said.

“Say protect real jobs, not promised ones, protect the water that links us all. No cyanide, no modification, but a proper DA with independent reviews.”

Co-organiser of the protest Sheila Monahan said the protest was just the beginning.

She said while the event featured speakers from the Greens, it was a community-wide issue.

“It wasn’t to be biased – it was to get all the parties together,” she said.

“We’re urging everyone to get in contact with their sitting MPs and all the candidates to raise their awareness of it.”




23/02 - Cyanide processing will be properly scrutinised, says Unity Mining CEO

UNITY Mining’s managing director Andrew McIllwain is confident the company’s proposal to process gold with cyanide at its Majors Creek mine will be properly scrutinised.

Unity has submitted its environmental assessment to NSW Planning for review, after which it will go on exhibition for public comment.

Mr McIllwain said the document included an extensive range of risk assessments, including potential impacts to the Eurobodalla’s water supply.

“We’ve in fact been through all of the potential risks and all of the potential scenarios that would impact on the environment and we are confident that we have all the processes or the procedures or the mechanisms in place that will protect the environment,” he said.

“Whatever has been deemed necessary by the planning department we have in there.

“We haven’t taken this lightly and the assurance that we will provide the people is that it is well engineered and it will be well operated.”

Ms McIllwain said Unity Mining was not “trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes”.

“I understand that people have a belief that we should be going back through a formal project approval for the entire project, but this is in fact not a major change, we’re not introducing processing to the site,” he said.

“People are not aware that we are in fact going to crush and grind and process rock on site…we have an approved processing facility.

“It’s the cyanide tankage that is going on the back of all that processing plant that we’re talking about.”

He said the major risk was the stability of the tailings storage dam, which had already been approved and assessed, not what was in it.

Mr McIllwain said the five environmental breaches at site when construction began were unrelated to the operation of the project.

“They were very unfortunate and regrettable incidents associated with stormwater drainage,” he said.

“I think our performance over the last 12 or 18 months where there has been far more rain that we’ve had at when those incidents occurred and we’ve been able to mange and contain everything on site.

“If people think that our operating capacity is such high risk then I’m sure they’ll either not approve this or withdraw our license.”

He said he was confident the matter would be referred to the Planning and Assessment Commission for review and that it would not be determined until after the state election.

“Once it’s up on public exhibition it’s up for a minimum of 28 days and then it can be extended at their discretion,” he said.

“If they think it needs further time for review and then if there are more than 25 objections it progresses up to the Planning and Assessment Commission for their adjudication.

“I would be happy for it to go to there because it’s an independent adjudicator.

“We’ve submitted our homework and someone else needs to determine whether it’s appropriate or not.”



19/01 - ASX Release - December 2014 Quarterly Report

Key Points


  • Sustained strong operational performance from Henty with quarterly production of 11,370oz gold at a cash operating cost of $968/oz and AISC of $986/oz – continuing to deliver significantly ahead of plan


  • Preparation for submission of planning modification nearing completion


  •  Continued cash build with $12.3M cash at bank – above current market capitalisation
  •  An additional $9.5M held in cash-backed performance bonds
  •  Sustained cost reductions across the group
  •  Gold put options acquired to hedge approximately 70% of forecast gold production January to June 2015 at A$1445/oz


16/01 - Unity Mining signs deal to resume pumping Bendigo groundwater

Unity Mining has confirmed it has resumed pumping groundwater from underneath Bendigo as part of a deal with the Victorian Government.

Unity said it started pumping water from the New Moon shaft under Bendigo to the Woodvale ponds, north of the city, on December 29.

The company confirmed to the Australian Securities Exchange yesterday that it had reached a commercial agreement with the Government.

The company told shareholders, the pumping was needed to prevent the discharge of water into Bendigo's Rosalind Park and local watercourses.

The deal expires at the end of June, when it is hoped a longer term plan will be put in place.

The water has been rising since Unity ceased its operations in Bendigo in 2011.

Woodvale residents said they want the ponds closed and the land rehabilitated.


14/01 - Opposition to On-Site Processing by Darques Gold Mine

I am writing to voice my opposition to the proposed changes to permit on-site processing at the Darques Gold Mine in Major’s Creek.

Before Xmas I attended the meeting arranged by Unity Mining representatives to inform our community regarding the mooted changes.

I listened on in amazement at the flagrant obfuscation and down-playing of the risks to our communities water supply and environment of the proposed cyanide leaching of gold deposits and installation of a heavy metals tailings dam in the headwaters of the Eurobodalla water supply.

My reasons for concern are as follows:

In the first 6 months of operation, Unity Mining had five environmental breaches, three of which resulted in them being prosecuted and fined. Big Island Mining Pty Ltd was convicted after pleading guilty to three water pollution offences which occurred at the Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek in

February and March 2013, and was fined almost $200,000.

The Land and Environment Court found that while the environmental harm caused by the incidents was  low,  practical  measures  were  available to minimise  that  harm  and  there appeared to have been a substantial failure to implement these measures. The Court found that the harm was foreseeable and the mine shared culpability with e specialist contractor for the pollution. With such an abysmal track record to date, before any processing is to commence, how can we allow such a company to interfere with our water supply and environment? The Eurobodalla has approx 40,000 residents, which swells to over 120,000 in the tourist season.

Rehabilitation works at another site, Woodvale Ponds, run by the same Mining Company- in one of it’s other guises- is still awaiting commencement more than after 2 years after cessation of mining. Pond 6 at this site has an associated toxic groundwater plume which extends to within 200m of the local waterway Myers Creek. Three members of the environmental review committee have estimated that the company’s bond has been underestimated in the order of $12-15 million. The heavy metals tailings dam is there for all time.

The Araluen valley has a thriving peach industry, cattle farming and environmental tourism. If the cyanide and tailings dam were to ever threaten these endeavours it would spell the closure of all these businesses & jobs. 

I believe this Company is going to set up this mine with the sole purpose of on-selling and profit gouging with no concern for local issues of water supply, environment, or long-term and sustainable employment.

I strongly urge you to insist on an entirely new development application and environmental assessment.

Ms Stephanie Birk




10/01 - Mine’s proposal still toxic

UNITY Mining’s proposal to use cyanide at its Dargues gold mine at Majors Creek has caused a great deal of concern in the community.

Cyanide is highly toxic but, unfortunately for affected communities, it is the most economical method to extract gold from ore.

Because of the method’s cost-effectiveness, and the company’s financial troubles, Unity has decided to renege on its undertakings to not apply for approval to use cyanide on site. 

In a public relations exercise, Unity flew six residents to its Henty gold mine in Tasmania, where cyanide is used, and has also run a number of public information forums at Araluen, Braidwood and Moruya.

At Henty, I saw the cyanidation process first-hand and had many of my concerns about the process allayed.

My concerns are now primarily focused on the integrity of the tailings storage.

I have been involved with the gold mine from the beginning - and I remain an objector, though not because I am opposed to mining per se.

I support environmentally responsible mining - for a number of reasons, including that we all benefit from it.

I object because of the location of the mine: on the edge of an escarpment, within the Deua River Valley.

The river and its tributaries support households and agriculture in the valley and the river provides Eurobodalla Shire with about 80 per cent of its water.

The environmental impact statement to accompany the application is expected to be available at the end of this month.

A study of it will enable people to argue their case and to argue for more stringent conditions should approval be given.

Peter Cormick

Deua River Valley


26/12 - Majors Creek man brings his no-cyanide message to Canberra

 Jay Cronan

Jeff Wolford, of Araluen, is protesting about the goldmine using cyanide. Photo: Jay Cronan

A Majors Creek man has travelled to Canberra towing a handmade sign protesting the potential use of cyanide at a goldmine south of Braidwood.

Jeff Wolford said he was outraged when Unity Mining announced plans to build a cyanide processing plant at the Majors Creek goldmine, despite initially intending to send materials for processing about380km to the north.

The home-made sign is in stark contrast to the public messaging campaign employed by Unity Mining, which spent about $10,000 to fly residents and council workers to view its Henty goldmine in Tasmania.  

Mr Wolford, who lives about three kilometres from the proposed site, said his wish for his small town and the Araluen Valley was for the mine to abandon plans to use cyanide.

"The indications are they would make it as safe as possible but you only need one disaster and something to influence and I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone."

Mr Wolford said residents in Eurobodalla Shire and Araluen Valley were concerned about the mine's use of cyanide, fearing that it may damage the water catchment for 140,000 people in summer.

But Unity Mining managing director Andrew McIlwain said cyanide could be used safely in goldmining operations and was already being used in its Tasmanian mine.

"All of the water containing cyanide will be treated through a process that destroys the cyanide such that the levels are reduced well below safe operating levels before it is transferred from the processing plant to the tailings storage facility," he said.

In February 2013, Mr McIlwain told an audience at a public meeting there would be "certainly no cyanide" used at the mine after listening to community feedback.

Local concerns about the use of cyanide have been exacerbated by the mine's previous operations, which led to the Spring and Majors creeks being polluted within months of construction beginning.

The Land and Environment Court ordered Unity to pay $196,000 in penalties and costs, including to the Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group.

Araluen Valley Protection and Producers Coalition president Penny Hayman said within two weeks of mine construction, Unity had polluted Spring and Majors creeks.

Mr McIlwain has admitted the pollution of the region during construction was not the company's finest hour, but insisted cyanide could be safely used at the NSW mine.

"We have taken our 40 lashes and paid our fines. It is not something we are very proud of, but circumstances were quite different," he said.

"There will be no mercury, lead or lead dust emissions associated with the smelting of gold ore at Dargues."

"The current project approvals do not permit the transport or processing of ore from other sites and that the proposed modification makes no change to this condition."

Mr McIlwain said community information sessions had been held in Braidwood, Araluen and Moruya, and provided an opportunity "for people to better understand and correct misinformation".

But the proposed changes have outraged some local councillors like Pail Cockram, who described the cyanide plans as "terrifying" for residents.

"I mean, they came here and stood in front of this community and said they were going to build a mine but 'don't worry we're not going to do any of the really nasty processing part – we're going to send that somewhere else to get it done'," he said.

Unity Mining is expected to submit an environmental impact statement to the NSW government early next year. 


17/12 - Concentrate processing at Dargues

By David Lever
Dec. 17, 2014, midnight

As a member of the Dargues Reef Community Consultative Committee and one of the community representatives shown around the Henty mine by Unity Mining on Wednesday, I came away reasonably assured that processing of the concentrate on site at Dargues would not pose any greater risk to surrounding communities than trucking it elsewhere. 

We will have to wait on the Environmental Assessment for the fine print of the proposal and its environmental implications. However, the proposal has a number of positives: the impressive safety record of Unity at Henty; the proposed additional measures to protect against accidental release of cyanide on delivery of the pellets; the significantly higher design standards already applying to the TSF at Dargues, compared with Henty; and the improved road safety and reduced carbon footprint associated with over 2,000 fewer loaded trucks per year passing through Braidwood to Parkes or wherever. 

I would like to congratulate Unity for its openness in relation to the Henty operation, and for giving community and media representatives a chance to assess the possible implications of cyanide processing on site at Dargues.

David Lever


16/12 - Miner congratulated

AS a member of the Dargues Reef Community Consultative Committee and one of the six community representatives shown around the Henty mine by Unity Mining last Wednesday, I came away reasonably assured that processing of the concentrate on site at Dargues Gold Mine, near Majors Creek, would not pose any greater risk to the surrounding communities than trucking it elsewhere.

We will have to wait on the Environmental Assessment for the fine print of the proposal and its environmental implications. However, the proposal has a number of positives:

- The impressive safety record of Unity at Henty;

- The proposed additional measures to protect against accidental release of cyanide on delivery of the pellets;

- The significantly higher design standards already applying to the Tailings Storage Facility at Dargues -compared with Henty; and

- The improved road safety and reduced carbon footprint associated with over 2000 fewer loaded trucks per year moving through Braidwood en route to Parkes.

I would like to congratulate Unity for its openness in relation to the Henty operation, and for giving the community and media representatives such an opportunity to assess the possible implications of cyanide processing on site at Dargues.

David Lever


16/12 - A prime example of ‘Mission Creep’

By Sophie Lee
Dec. 16, 2014, 4:35 p.m.

The word betrayed has been used a lot around Majors Creek and Braidwood lately. It’s even mentioned in the papers and on TV news reports concerning the proposed submission by Unity Mining.

To say i feel betrayed is not totally correct, since that implies a level of trust ever existed. In my case, I never felt any level of trust and in fact, I could have guessed it would run something like this.

Call me paranoid or say I’ve watched too many conspiracy movies, but if a company or a big business is motivated by greed for shareholder profit, it stands to reason that they cannot be trusted to put any interest first except their own, even if it means using questionable tactics.

The typical modus operandi of developers in the mining industry is well documented. It is based on a foot-in-the-door approval, and then with a progression of amendment upon amendment, a wearing down of the local community, and an eroding of limits and special conditions, the gate is fully open and the mining company gets what they wanted right from the start.

There is a perfect name for this concept…Mission Creep…we’ve got the idea right?! But Wikipedia gives this definition:

"Mission creep is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs."

Here is a prime example of Mission Creep. After gaining approval to modify some conditions already, including a wording change that allows them to only have to “generally” comply with conditions of approval (rather than follow them to the letter). 

Unity Mining now seeks further changes that will erode the conditions and limits on approval and then, I should think, if successful, will make application to increase the maximum allowable ore to be extracted from the site per year, (a limit imposed to control open cut mining) and an application to process ore from other mines at the facility at Majors Creek. 

The final failure may not even be a catastrophic tailings dam disaster, or an overturned cyanide load on Majors Creek Road, it may be that all those truck movements they so kindly relieved us of come back again but now they are bringing the ore from all over the place here to process and Majors Creek becomes an industrial site with a big sad hole in the ground and our town changes into a place we wish we didn’t live in.

Sophie Lee


Drague's Reef Expansion

To The Department of Planning and Control


To the Federal Minister Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities: Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au

To NSW Premier Christina Keneally


Dear Sir, (or Madam for Christina Keneally),

Re the Submission on the proposed Dargues Reef Mine, Majors Creek, NSW
Reference: 10_0054

Given Cortona's recent quarterly report stating that the development will be three times larger than that described in the EA, and that material from several areas beyond Major's Creek will be processed at the Major's Creek site, I ask that the present EA be regarded as invalid, and that a new EA be required, which includes the entire proposed development

Development by stealth should not be permitted. I ask that the full scope of the proposed development be assessed, not the existing small portion. .

Yours faithfully,

Older information from JackieÔÇÖs previous email.

Please pass on if you can!

The Dargue's Reef Mine proposal has been referred to the Federal minister for the Environment- see attachment. The public has only ten days to comment from the date it has been posted on the web. (It's not on the web yet, but probably will be posted there next week, ie the week beginning 28 November.

As I understand it, once the mining company has responded the public will have another ten days to comment.

The Federal Government has a duty under international agreements to protect threatened, endangered and critically endangered species. The mining company will need to show that there operations will either have no effect on the species immediately below the mine, or that they have taken steps to protect them. Note: none of these species were mentioned in their Environmental Assessment.

Please- if you have any knowledge, interest or expertise in the area, could you urgently add your comments when the matter is posted on the web site?

The species concerned are listed below. (There are many other endangered species in the area, but they are not yet listed by the Federal Government).

Major concerns might be:

. Cortona plan to mix soil from the mine with concrete to fill the areas that have been mined. This will have a dramatic and devastating effect on the aquifer- concrete is strongly alkaline and most native species need slightly acidic conditions. In tests here even 2 square metres concrete paving affects native plants 50 metres away.

. Cortona plan to use the chemical Xanthate to process the ore. Any release of Xanthate into the water system or aquifer could also be devastating.

. Cortona have publicly stated that they plan to mine three times the amount stated under this present proposal, and that all material from their new sites will be processed at the Dargue's reef site, 1.5 km upstream from the Major's Creek National Park Reserve. I strongly urge that ALL existing plans for mining and processing need to be assessed at this stage, rather than have a the far smaller development approved and the other developments approved piecemeal, as mere additions to an already approved development.

. Breeding sites of powerful owls and gang gangs have already been disrupted by trials at Dargue's Reef. For the first time in 36 years powerful owls appear to have failed to nest in the Major's Creek National Park Reserve gorge, almost certainly because of vibration and explosions.

. Cortona have done no survey of endangered flora and fauna, nor any investigation into their ecology or breeding patterns. without this no assurances can be given that there will be no threat.

. The Dargue's reef Mine is only 1.7 km away from the precipitous descent into the Major's Creek gorge. If the 800,000 cubic metre tailings dam leaks or even gives way, the species in the gorge will be destroyed by a mix of heavy metal and Xanthate contaminated waste. Given the sheer amount of tailings,and the narrow confines of the gorge, any spill is likely to be forced upwards between the cliffs. the tailings dam will be 25 metres high. Tailings released into the gorge might rise 75-100 metres high in the narrow confined space.

Note: all processing from the additional sites where Cortona is prosing to mine will be processed at the Dargue's reef site, according to Cortona's most recent bulletin. This is a far larger development than the present proposal allows for.

. the existing proposal is for a mine 500 metres deep ie half a kilometre. this will take it to 135 metres below the Major's Creek national park Reserve and the Major's Creek gorge. No adequate study or test has been made to see how this will affect the aquifer. only two test bores have been dug downstream of the mine. Cortoina's assertion that there will be no effect on the aquifer downstream and that there is very little transmission through the granite soils and bedrock are based on test bores predominantly uphill from the site.

.Cortona assert that the rock in the area is granite. There are however several intrusions of other rock in the areas downstream in the areas where the most endangered species exist. No tests have been done on their permeability.

The Federally listed species that exist in the area immediately below the mine site are listed here. Please- if you can help at all, add your comment to the web site. If you know of any other endangered species directly below the proposed mine, please make them known to the department. Due to the inaccessibility of much of the gorge it contains possibly more rare species than any other similar site in Austrlia. At the very least, there are rare orchid, bat and insect species that I am not competent to list. All the very best, Jackie French

Federally listed animals within four kilometres downstream of the mine site include:

New Holland mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae)
Status: vulnerable

Zieria adenophera (Araluen Zieria)
Status: endangered

Button Wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides)
Status: endangered

Araluen Gum (Eucalyptus kartzoffiana)
Status: vulnerable

Grey Deua Pomaderris (Pomaderris gilmourii var. cana)
Status: vulnerable

Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

01/09 - Gold mine operator ordered to pay almost $200,000 for polluting creeks near Braidwood

The operator of the Dargues gold mine near Braidwood in southern NSW has been ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in penalties and costs over pollution spills.

The offences happened last year during construction of the mine at Majors Creek.

The company, Big Island Mining (BIM), allowed muddy water to pollute the nearby Spring and Majors Creeks on three separate occasions.

The pollution was cased by a failure to install adequate sediment and erosion controls.

Majors Creek provides a water supply for rural properties and flows into Araluen Creek, which is a tributary of the Deua River.

The Deua River catchment provides 60 per cent of the water supply for Eurobodalla.

The Land and Environment Court's Justice Nicola Pain fined the company $103,000, to be paid to the Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group for riparian health works in and around Araluen Creek.

The company was also ordered to pay $93,000 to the EPA for legal and investigation costs, and must publicise the Land and Environment Court's decision in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Braidwood Times, and Australian Mining Magazine.

In her decision, Justice Pain noted it was concerning that the offences occurred in the first two weeks of work at the site.

"As the operator of a gold mine of this size, the defendant should have ensured it had sufficient expertise to confirm that its project approval was being complied with, including where a contractor selected for its particular skills was being employed," she said.

"That obligation included the ability to ensure adequate implementation of controls on the ground."

Big Island Mining director Andrew McIlwain said the company regretted the incident and had been keen to ensure that any fine was paid directly to community groups in the area.

"It's not something that we're particularly proud of... we've moved forward as quickly as we can and we'll get on now with what we need to do with the developing the project," he said.

EPA director Gary Whytcross said the EPA hoped the judgment sent a clear message to other companies that controls must be planned and implemented prior to construction to ensure water pollution does not occur.



01/11 - Drilling begins at gold mine near Braidwood

Drilling has begun at the Dargues Gold Mine near Majors Creek south of the New South Wales town of Braidwood.

The exploration involves searching for the exact location of gold deposits in the area ahead of a full-scale dig.

According to a quarterly report out from the project's developer, Unity Mining, the project is progressing well despite some weather-related delays to work.

The report also says the company plans to move gold mining equipment from Bendigo to the Dargues Reef mine site.

Its Managing Director Andrew McIlwain says an access road has been built.

"We're at the point where the underground mine development is about to start and very soon we will be finalising the construction arrangements for the processing plant," he said.

"In the next week or so some unique and specific underground mining equipment will be mobilised to do the ground support in the box cut which is the initial opening into the underground mine.

"We are finalising our financing for the project.

"We expect to be producing gold at Dargues by the end of next year."

He says the company employs about 35 people in the area and that workforce will soon expand.

"As construction moves forward there'll be in excess of another 100 people coming on-site," he said.

"We have drill rigs operating on-site to extend the known resource and we also have a team that are doing regional exploration work.

"We have a view that there's more gold to be found yet and that's certainly why we're operating in the district."

The mining project has been the subject of two investigations by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority.

The first happened in March 2013, when sediment from the mine was washed into local waterways by heavy rain.

The second investigation began in August 2013, after a chemical water purification agent drained from the mine into the surrounding area.

Mr McIlwain says the mine is regulated by numerous authorities that keep a close eye on the project.

"The issues before the project earlier were related to where we didn't have sufficient capacity to collect water and that's certainly been addressed," he said.


01/12 - Cortona Boosts Exploration Coffers After Completing North Monger Sale

Cortona Boosts Exploration Coffers After Completing North Monger Sale

Sale of WA gold asset for $2.7M lifts cash resources to $7 million to underpin Dargues Reef Drilling

Please follow this Link to see the announcement.

01/12 - Letters to the Editor (WA Today)

Cyanide by stealth

  Please do not allow cyanide processing of ore that contains lead, cadmium, zinc and gold at Dargues Mine at Majors Creek, NSW, nor allow a smelter to be built, threatening the village of Majors Creek, local businesses, the creek that is the headwaters of the Eurobodalla South Coast water system, and our children.

Unity Mining had five pollution incidents at Dargues in the six months they operated, as well as a collapse of their initial workings. The site is on steep land, overlooking Majors Creek township and the thriving orchards and other businesses of the Araluen valley, which bring in more economic benefit than the proposed mine and smelter. Spring Creek on the Dargues site is the headwaters of the Eurobodalla water system for much of the NSW South Coast.

Virginia and Robin Wallace-Crabbe,   Braidwood, NSW

  While the federal Minister for Defence might not trust a submarine builder to build a canoe, who would trust Unity Mining at the Dargues Reef mine at Majors Creek to build a sandpit for the local kindy? 

Six major spills or mistakes in just six  months of operation, affecting or threatening watercourses, farms and residents downstream as well as the water supply for a whole shire down on the coast and they are asking us to trust them. Unity Mining is now proposing onsite processing of ore, using   environmental crowd-pleaser cyanide to release lead and arsenic along with gold from the crushed ore. So, when the mine boss was filmed during the start of the (ahem) "community consultation" process promising no cyanide, was he just making a Howard "non-core promise"? To propose the introduction of cyanide processing through amendments to existing non-cyanide conditions is an insult and an absurdity. 

A full environmental and social impact study is required before the matter is  considered. If that doesn't put it to bed, then the  Non-violent Direct Action campaign that will follow approval (should it be given) will. The mine only got to this stage because it didn't directly threaten the lives and livelihoods of locals and  downstream and downwind users of the water and the land, and the miner convinced the inquiry that it wouldn't (even if the local community had deep and justified reservations). It is now threatening us with death by a thousand cuts: a changed condition here, and amendment there, a clean-up here, an apology there ... reject Unity Mining's "cyanide by stealth".

Will Douglas, Moruya, NSW



02/02 - Majors Creek goldmine agreement

Proponents of a huge underground gold mine east of Canberra say they've made a major breakthrough by securing agreements with two environmental groups, but cannot give a starting date for building the mine.

Cortona Resources says the Majors Creek mine will create 100 jobs during construction and 80 ongoing jobs during production of an estimated 50,000 ounces of gold a year.

The Land and Environment Court is expected to give consent on Tuesday following the agreement between Cortona and The Coastwatchers Association and South East Region Conservation Alliance.

Lawyers representing the mine, NSW Minister for Planning and the two environmental groups reached agreement at a Land and Environment Court hearing on Monday.

The agreement follows an earlier deal with Eurobodalla Shire Council, which had concerns over water quality in the Moruya River catchment.

Lois Katz of the South East Region Conservation Alliance said experts providing evidence on both sides of the debate had agreed on improvements to the tailings dam.

Coastwatchers Association president Sheila Monahan said the agreement would add more environmental protection.

Asked if the tailings dam had been increased from a category three to category one tailings dam, Cortona Resources managing director Peter van der Borgh said the dam met requirements of the NSW Dam Safety Committee.

Key to agreement with objectors was dialogue to explain the science.

''Once they understood that, what we were proposing made more sense.''

He said appeals against the development raised uncertainty, but reaching agreements would instil more confidence with investors in the mine.

He said the owners were not looking for a buyer for the mine.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Cortona said design work for the tailings storage facility had been finalised and expressions of interest to build it had been invited.

An operations plan had been submitted to government agencies and the final application for the mining lease was awaiting approval.

''Licensed water bores have been drilled on site in readiness for commencement of construction of the box cut,'' the statement said.

''Additional monitoring bores are planned to be completed shortly.''

Mr van der Borgh said it was difficult to say when construction would begin until all those approvals were made.



02/03 - Napoleon prospect discovered 20km north of Dargues Reef

New Gold Occurrence and Company Presentation

Napoleon prospect discovered 20km north of Dargues Reef

Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC) has released an update of
its Company Presentation, which can also be viewed  on the
Company’s website.

The presentation introduces a new gold occurrence that Cortona
has discovered ~20km north of its flagship Dargues  Reef Gold
Project in NSW. 

The Napoleon prospect is the first such occurrence in the area and
confirms Cortona’s belief that the district has the potential to
become a significant long-term gold-producing region.

At this stage, the discovery comprises rock chips taken from
exposed ‘epithermal’ quartz veins along 50m of strike. Assays have
returned gold grades up to 6.2g/t and silver grades up to 77.0g/t.

A soil program will soon be undertaken to identify the extent of the
anomaly and define drill targets. This will form part of a broader
exploration program that is currently being planned in parallel with
final preparations for the development of the Dargues Reef gold

Cortona recently received approval for the Dargues  Reef Project
from the NSW Land and Environment Court following key approvals
last year. Development is anticipated to commence this year.


02/11 - Court action costs jobs

Legal action against the approval of the Dargues Reef gold mine near Majors Creek has forced Cortona Resources to lay off five of its local employees.

The Eurobodalla Shire Council and environmental groups Coastwatchers and the South-East Conservation Alliance have appealed the NSW Planning Assessment Commission’s determination to approve the project, despite more than 12 months public scrutiny from the community, Government agencies and independent experts.

The five workers live in the local area, which stands to enjoy a significant economic boost when mining starts.

Cortona Managing Director Peter van der Borgh said it was frustrating and disappointing for the company to be forced to lose local employees, who had worked on the project for a year on average.

“It’s a real shame, because we were extremely close to creating five new positions which we wanted to source from the local community. Then the appeal comes along and instead of hiring more local people as planned, we have had to scale back our operations and reduce our numbers in order to fund legal fees,” Mr van der Borgh said.

He said Dargues Reef had been given the go-ahead by both the NSW and Federal Governments in September and the company had let contracts to start construction at the mine.

“Independent experts and regulators have assessed the Dargues Reef Gold Mine and consider that under the management conditions agreed to by the company it will pose no environmental threat to the water supply or water quality,” he said.

The Dargues Reef mine is expected to generate about 100 jobs during the construction phase and 80 long-term jobs. An expedited hearing on matter has been set for February 2012.


03/11 - Change of venue - ordinary meeting Braidwood 4 November

03 Nov 2010

The venue of Council's next ordinary meeting to be held on Thursday, 4 November 2010, has been changed from Council's meeting room in Park Lane, Braidwood, to the Braidwood National Theatre Community Centre, in Wallace Street.

The ordinary meeting, starting at 2.00 pm, will be preceded by the Finance & Audit Committee meeting, which starts at 1.00 pm.

The change in venue has been arranged to accommodate the larger number of members of the public expected to attend this meeting.

The business paper for this meeting has been split into four parts and are attached below.

This article can be found on the web at:

04/07 - (Video) First blasting conducted at the Dargues Gold Mine

The blast was designed to occur in only 2 firings to both maximise efficiencies and minimise any impact on the local community.  Both the first stage “pre-split” and the second stage ‘body” (or main) blasts went according to plan with data feedback from our vibration monitoring being well within allowable limits.

First blasting conducted at the Dargues Gold Mine.

See attached video



[Save Araluen Valley and Majors Creek - Say NO to Cyanide]

Dear Minister Goward, Please don't approve the modifications, proposed for Dargues Gold Mine in Majors Creek, NSW. Unity Mining wishes to remove conditions from their original consent, that would allow it to use cyanide and mercury onsite to process ores, and to potentially pave the way to processing ores from other mines across the region.

Why is this important?

Dargues Gold Mine is located in a highly sensitive, biodiverse and critical part of south eastern New South Wales. Water from Majors Creek flows into the Deua River and estuaries, through National Park, Araluen Valley, and down to the ocean. People's livelihoods in this region are dependent upon the health of their soil, air and water for farming, aquaculture, environmental conservation and importantly - for the health of their children.

Sign Here


05/03 - LionGold signs voluntary escrow agreement

Unity Mining Limited (ASX:UML, Unity) is pleased to announce that its largest
shareholder - LionGold Corp (LionGold) - has agreed to a 12-month voluntary
escrow period for its existing holding in the Company.

Unity Managing Director Andrew McIlwain said today “We welcome the decision by
LionGold to commit to escrow their current holding of 92.6 million shares (13.2%
of issued capital). This is clear demonstration of their support of Unity by both
addressing recent market conjecture in relation to any potential sell down, as well
as indicating their long term commitment to our growth objectives.

LionGold’s further investment in Unity via partial sub-underwriting of the
Shareholder Purchase Plan is a strong vote of confidence in the both the assets
and capability of Unity to deliver shareholder value into the future. In addition to
the $660,000 sub-underwriting of the SPP, Unity has agreed to allow LionGold the
an opportunity to increase its interest in Unity up to 19.9% via a subsequent
placement” said Mr McIlwain.

Commenting on LionGold’s investment in Unity, Acting Group Chief Executive
Officer Raymond Tan states, “LionGold is pleased to build on our relationship with
Unity through supporting their Shareholder Purchase Plan. LionGold continues to
see great value in Unity’s producing Henty Gold Mine, and in the development of
the Dargues Gold Mine in NSW, and we welcome any opportunity to encourage
Unity’s growth. LionGold remains committed to executing its growth strategy
through the acquisition of gold mining assets, strategic alliances, joint ventures
and financing or equity partners.”


05/04 - Successful Share Placement and Share Purchase Plan to Raise up to $7M to Progress Mine Planning and Exploration at Dargues Reef Gold Project

Key Points:

  •  Cortona to raise up to $7m through a placement and SPP
  •  Strong demand for the placement from institutional and high net worth investors
  •  Funds to be used primarily for site engineering works and finalising approvals required for the development of the Dargues Reef Gold Project, regional exploration, and for working capital purposes  
  •  Hartleys Limited is Broker to the Offer

Australian gold company Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC,
“Cortona” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce  that it has
placed 33 million shares at 12 cents per share to raise $3.96 million
(“the Placement”) and has resolved to raise a further $3 million via a
Share Purchase Plan to existing shareholders (“the SPP”). Hartleys
Limited is Broker to the Offer. 

Commenting on the Placement, Cortona’s Managing Director Peter
van der Borgh stated “The strong support for the Placement was
very pleasing and demonstrates the recognition that Cortona is on
track to join the ranks of Australia’s gold producers, and offers
significant opportunity to maximise shareholder value as key
milestones are delivered”.

A total of approximately 25 million shares at 12 cents per share will
be offered under the SPP to eligible shareholders registered at 4
April 2012 with SPP documentation to be sent to eligible
shareholders shortly. 

Funds raised pursuant to the Placement and SPP will be used
primarily for site engineering works and finalising approvals required
for the development of the Dargues Reef Gold Project, regional
exploration, and for working capital purposes. 

The Placement is not subject to shareholder approval as it falls
within Cortona’s 15% capacity under ASX Listing Rule 7.1.2


05/09 - Unity Mining to keep cyanide vow despite processing hicup

Unity Mining has given an assurance it will not use cyanide to process ore from its underground goldmine at Majors Creek, east of Canberra.

Unity Mining's plans to truck ore for processing to Parkes in central NSW may not proceed after a challenge lodged about a year ago in the NSW Land and Environment Court remains unresolved.

Parkes Shire Council had approved processing up to 50,000 tonnes a year of material from Majors Creek at the London Victoria gold mine.

The project was expected to create 12 jobs and contribute $3.8 million to the Parkes economy.

A spokesman for Parkes Shire said the matter was still before the court, after Agriculture Equity Investments challenged the approval.

A Unity Mining spokesman said the Parkes option may no longer be possible.

''But there are options, one of which is to take [the ore] back to Bendigo and process it through an existing plant which Unity already owns.

''The final processing isn't resolved, except it certainly won't be done at Majors Creek.

''The approvals were issued on the basis that no cyanide processing took place. It's very clear cut, there's no plan whatsoever.''

Ore would be crushed at Dargues goldmine, then taken elsewhere.

Work began in February on the goldmine and an access road and box cut entrance are nearing completion.
Unity Mining has told the Australian Stock Exchange it does not expect production to start until the first half of the 2015 financial year.

In the statement, the company said it was considering using components of the gold processing plant at Bendigo, where the mine is no longer operating, at Dargues goldmine, or selling them and using proceeds to help develop the Dargues mine.


05/11 - Community fights 24-7 mine

The proponents of a gold mine planned near Braidwood in New South Wales are confident they can satisfy concerns raised by local residents.

The mine at Majors Creek was last active in 1916 and will be reopened next year.

Residents are worried about the impact the mine's 24 hour operations will have on traffic and the environment.

But Cortona Resources managing director Peter van der Borgh says the mine has to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"In order to mine and process what we require, in order to fund and pay back that funding in the times required, we will be required to extract and produce a certain amount of gold each year for a number of years," he said.

"The economics of it are such that 50-60 thousand ounces a year is what's required to repay a capital investment of about $50 million".

Mr van der Borgh says the company is addressing residents' concerns.

"We've built about $8 million dollars worth of capital investment has been put into mitigating the acts of noise and other things including housing the crushing plant, rubber lining the mill and dust containment by putting the ore in a bin".

Exodus fears

Majors Creek resident Murray Harrex says the community is concerned the mine's round the clock operations will impact on people's lifestyles.

He says some people are already talking about leaving the area, but they are continuing to fight the 24 hour operations.

"The Pelarang Shire Council is putting a submission into the (New South Wales) Government, they were very good with the working hours the community was seeking, with 12 hours a day for five and half days a week," he said.

"It'll go to State Government now, and the State Government will decide, but at least we got the first stage up which was through local government".

"I'm certainly not anti-mine, but I've just got issues with the fact that these guys want to work for such extended hours".


05/11 - Gold mine plans for Majors Creek trouble locals

Cortona Resources plans to extract $350 million worth of gold from Majors Creek near Braidwood over the next six years.

Locals in the quiet southeast village fear noise from mining and rock crushing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But Cortona's managing director Peter Van der Borgh says it has to operate continuously to be economical for the investment.

"We've built around about eight million dollars worth of capital investment has been put into mitigating the impacts of noise and other things, including housing the crushing plant, rubber lining on the mill and dust containment by putting the ore in a bin."

"In order to mine and process what we require, in order to fund and pay back that funding... we will be required to extract and produce a certain amount of gold each year for a number of years."

"50 to 60,000 ounces a year is what's required to be produced and repay capital investment of around about $50 million."

Gold was first mined at Majors Creek in the 1850s.

Up until 1916, the miners found gold in the quartz streams, which they liberated by crushing the rock.

Dargues Reef is a "disseminated pyrite lode," which had been difficult to extract until now.

This ore is going to be extracted through crushing and washing the pyrite off the sand.

The gold dore is then going to be trucked away from the mine, avoiding the use locally of cyanide.

You can read the environmental impact statement here
Palerang Council will query the 24/7 gold mine operation

The Palerang Council has agreed to ask the NSW Government to force the mine to only operate 12 hours a day, for at least the first year.

Majors Creek resident Murray Harrex says "if this mine does work 24 hours a day, it will certainly change a lot of lifestyles in the area.

"Quite a few people are talking about moving already.

"But I'm certainly not anti-mine, but I've just got issues with the fact these guys want to work extended hours."

"It's using the crushers 24 hours a day that's going to make a lot of noise."


05/11 - Palerang expresses concern over mine

Supporters and opponents of an underground gold mine proposed for Majors Creek went head-to-head yesterday at a local council meeting in Braidwood.

Cortona Resources' Dargues Reef gold project is expected to generate up to 80 jobs but the suggested economic benefits are being weighed against the impact on the environment and community.

Palerang Council yesterday voted to express concern about the ''adverse implications'' of the project, about 60km south-east of Canberra.

It also voted to call for rigorous conditions to be imposed on the operations of the mine, where up to 354,000 tonnes of ore could be removed each year.

The NSW Government which will decide whether the mine project goes ahead is under no obligation to impose the conditions requested by the council. About 100 members of the public attended the council meeting, which was addressed by Cortona Resources managing director Peter van der Borgh.

Several local residents said they were worried that the mine would harm local waterways, animals and plants and that noise from the site would disturb people in Majors Creek.

Some residents were also worried about extra trucks on local roads, including on the busy Kings Highway, which many Canberra holiday makers use to travel to the South Coast. Mr van der Borgh said that there would be little or no ecological impact from the mine and the highest levels of safety and environmental protection would be maintained.

For more on this story, including details of the anticipated gold output of the mine, see the print edition of today's Canberra Times.


06/03 - Mine cleans up after rain

After the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) ordered Big Island Mining, the operators of the Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek with a clean up notice, the company has been implementing new sediment control measures and erosion mitigation. The company was left exposed with large areas of topsoil removed for the initial construction work for the boxcut, ROM pad and access roads.

The EPA Notice requires the operators to take immediate action to ensure that appropriate environmental controls are in place and are being adhered to.

It requires the company to engage the expert services of a sediment erosion control professional to inspect the site, make recommendations for improvements and performance monitoring.

EPA Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said that the regulatory action follows a heavy rain incident on February 24 when run off from the site’s earthworks was washed into Spring Creek, a tributary of Majors Creek.

“The EPA received a self-report from the company on February 24, as well as a number of complaints about turbid water being discharged from the mine site and a possible failure of the sediment dam,” Mr Gifford said.

“An inspection by EPA officers the next day found that large areas of track construction did not have sediment and erosion control measures in place, allowing sediment laden water to move through the site.

“The EPA took immediate action to get the company to improve its environmental controls, including issuing a Clean-Up Notice which requires regular progress and compliance reports to the EPA.

“The EPA has also met with the company’s senior management and will continue to monitor the situation onsite, especially in high wet weather events, to ensure the incident does not reoccur.

“This will include water testing of Spring and Majors creeks, random site inspections and following up on any concerns raised by residents.”

EPA personnel were on site last week to inspect the work. The Braidwood Times visited the site on Monday and looked at the system of water storage dams and pumping in place to cope with further rain events. Work on the tailings dam has not yet started.

There are still a couple of months work on the initial boxcut construction before the decline commences.

One of the conditions on the clean up notice was: “Big Island Mining must implement the recommendations of the Specialist which require work to be done in the following areas within the period specified below in relation to those areas.

All perennial watercourse crossings as soon as possible and no later than 6 March 2012. All ephemeral watercourse crossings by as soon as possible and no later than 6 March 2012. All areas of soils of high erosion potential as soon as possible and no later than 11 March 2012. All other areas of the construction site as soon as possible and no later than 20 March 2012.”

Fines for not complying with a Clean-Up Notice are up to $1 million for a corporation and an additional $120,000 for every day that the offence continues.

Anybody who has concerns about potential environmental impacts from the Dargues Reef Mine should call the Enviro Line on 131 555.


06/06 - Dargues Reef Update: Further Key Permits Secured, Drilling set to Commence

  • Dargues Reef Environmental Protection Licence issued
  • Final three Management Plans approved
  • Mine Operations Plan approved
  • Drilling rig secured and scheduled to arrive this month to test a range of targets

Australian gold company Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC) is
pleased to provide an update on progress towards development of
its 100%-owned Dargues Reef Gold Mine in NSW. 

The Company has secured a range of additional permits and
approvals required to develop and operate the mine site. 

The Environmental Protection License (EPL) has been issued by
the NSW Environment Protection Authority. The EPL “…authorises
the carrying out of the scheduled activities…” and marks another
key milestone in the approvals process. 

The final two Dargues Reef Management Plans and the
Environmental Management Strategy have also been approved,
bringing the number of Management Plans for which Cortona
has secured approval this year to 11. 

The Dargues Reef Mine Operations Plan (MOP) has also been

Cortona’s Managing Director, Peter van der Borgh, said all key
approvals were now in place to commence development at
Dargues Reef, with only a couple of modifications outstanding. 

 “The modification to the operating permit at London Victoria,
which will enable us to transport gold concentrate for treatment
off-site, and the modification required to use paste-fill for the 2
underground mine at Dargues are the final outstanding permissions required, both of
which are well advanced. 

“It’s been a big effort from the team to jump through countless hoops and never take
our eyes off the prize,” Mr van der Borgh said. “We are now entering the final straight
towards development and, in what is likely to be a rising gold price environment our
timing looks pretty good.” 

Cortona is also pleased to advise that it has secured a drilling rig to commence exploration
drilling later this month. The program will test a range of prospects, including previously
untested targets at Napoleon and Doubloon, providing an additional source of news flow for
shareholders alongside project development activities. 

06/10 - New Shallow Gold Mineralised Structures Discovered at Dargues Reef

At least five gold mineralised structures discovered close to surface in recent step-out drilling at Dargues Reef

┬À Best result to date of 0.5m @ 77.0g/t gold which appears to correlate with earlier high-grade hits

┬À Broad, mineralised gold lode intercepted ~100m beneath current gold resource

┬À Drilling at Dargues Reef now to focus on defining gold resources at the new shallow discoveries, targeting an increase in annual gold production early in the projectÔÇÖs life

┬À Current hole discovers new zone of strong alteration and associated mineralisation ~150m north of Plums Lode target, results pending

┬À Dargues Reef Environmental Assessment passes through ÔÇÿAdequacy ReviewÔÇÖ by NSW Government

┬À Dargues Reef DFS on track for November 2010

To read the full announcement, please click the following link;


07/03 - Dargues Project Update

  • Changes to planned mining method to yield significant cost savings
  • Work continuing to evaluate on-site and off-site processplant solutions, with substantial additional savings forecast
  • Project on track to achieve estimated cash operating cost of $700/oz* over initial 5-year mine life

Unity Mining Limited (ASX:UML) (Unity or the Company) is pleased to provide
an update on technical studies underway in relation to its Dargues Gold Mine
development project in New South Wales.

Over the past two months, Unity in conjunction with technical specialists from
AMC Consultants, Mining One, IMO and others, has undertaken a detailed review
of the mining methods originally proposed in the Dargues project feasibility study
completed in 2010. This mine optimisation study has concluded that a change in
mining method from a “top-down” to a “bottom-up” strategy would deliver an
improved outcome. Specifically, the bottom-up mining method will deliver:

  • greater schedule flexibility by providing multiple independent mining areas;
  • an improved geotechnical regime using sequenced stoping;
  • a reduction in backfill operating costs and infrastructure requirements; and
  •  improved potential to extract the mine’s crown pillar.

The two mining methods are shown diagrammatically on the following page.

Preliminary assessment of the cost impacts indicate savings of $4-5 million over
the initial 5-year mine life from a combination of upfront capital savings and
ongoing operating costs reductions, and represent around 15% of the targeted
savings from the Project 30 initiative - which is targeting cost savings of $30
million over the initial 5-year life of the project compared with the current project
financial model.

Work is also underway to optimise the design, procurement and project
management strategies for both on-site and off-site process plant solutions.
These areas are expected to yield the bulk of the Project 30 savings yet to be
realised. Key to this is the relocation of equipment from Bendigo, or sourcing
from alternate suppliers given changed market conditions. More particularly,
whilst processing of the Dargues’ concentrate at Unity’s Bendigo gold processing
plant remains the baseline assumption, a number of alternatives are currently
under review, ranging from processing at existing facilities located closer to the
Dargues Mine, through to the potential sale of a gold concentrate in lieu of further

The Company will provide further updates on the Project 30 initiative in the March
2014 Quarterly Report.

* Net of state royalties and silver credits


07/07 - Tasmanian gold mine will close next year

Unity Mining will close its Henty gold mine next year, and it moves from production in to care and maintenance, affecting 150 workers.

It comes after an operational review of the site earlier this year, which focused on the gold mine's mineral inventory and life of mine production schedule.

"From the outcome of that review the company has determined that the best economic outcome for Unity shareholders is to focus on maximising cash generation through the recovery of the remaining higher confidence and higher margin reserves," it said in a company statement.

"Accordingly, at currently scheduled mining rates Henty is expected to have substantially mined these reserves and will transition onto a care and maintenance in late 2015."

However, it went on to stress that"while the company's current plan includes the eventual suspension of gold production from the Henty mine, Unity's goal is to restart or continue operations should additional, sustainable reserves be delineated".

Unity's managing director Andrew McIlwain said "since the acquisition of Henty in 2009, Unity has enjoyed strong support from our workforce, local, and regional communities as well as Minerals Resources Tasmania and during this period Henty has been a significant contributor to the Tasmanian economy".

"Unfortunately our significant commitment to exploration drilling within the Henty mine during the last twelve months has not been successful in adding significant additional gold ounces to the mine life, and as such, the mine will transition to care and maintenance in the second half of 2015."

A company spokesperson told Australian Mining the shutdown will affect the 150 full time workers and contractors at the mine.
The announcement is also a blow for the company, as Henty is currently it's only operating mine.

However it is currently working on the development Dargues Creek gold project in NSW, just south of Canberra, and is the first new gold mine to be approved in NSW since Lake Cowal more than a decade ago.

A recent definitive feasibility study at the site showed reserves of more than half a million ounces.
The underground mine, infrastructure, and portal has already bee designed.

The operation itself is aiming to mine approximately 330 000 tonnes using conventional long hole open stope mining methods via a decline.

Read more at http://www.ferret.com.au/articles/news/tasmanian-gold-mine-will-close-ne...

07/10 - Cortona Resources Raises $4.3 Million to Accelerate Follow-Up Drilling at New Shallow Gold Discoveries

Cortona Resources Limited (ÔÇ£CortonaÔÇØ ÔÇ£the CompanyÔÇØ) is pleased to advise that the Company has resolved to raise up to $4,335,000 through the placement of up to 25.5 million ordinary shares at an issue price of $0.17 per new share, to institutional and sophisticated investor clients of Hartleys Limited.

To read the full announcement, please click the following link;


07/10 - Unity Mining attracts interest in local assets

The owner of the Bendigo goldfield has told shareholders there are several parties interested in buying its local assets.

Unity Mining stopped gold production at Kangaroo Flat in 2011 and ever since has been looking at options to either reuse or sell its assets.

In its annual report published last week, the company says it is continuing to try to find buyers for its local mining tenements, plant and equipment.

It has told shareholders it recently received expressions of interest from several parties.

Unity has also talked about using its Kangaroo Flat site to process material it hopes to mine in New South Wales.

Development of the Dargues project was put on hold last November but the company says it will be making announcements in the coming months, including about its preferred processing route.



08/07 - Majors Creek goldmine remains under funding cloud

The owners of a goldmine under development near Majors Creek east of Canberra will halt their Tasmanian operations next year.

Unity Mining will mine out its remaining ore at its Henty goldmine over the next 18 months, leaving 150 workers out of a job when operations stop and the mine is put on care and maintenance status.

Investor relations manager Ben Hill said this did not change the status of Dargues mine near Majors Creek, where development stopped in November last year.

The Henty operation stopped because exploration over the past 12 months had not been able to fine more ore.

A road has been sealed to a box-cut entrance of the proposed underground mine at Dargues. But finance and a location for processing the final ore are yet to be resolved.

Mr Hill said Unity’s second largest shareholder, Singapore-based Liongold, had not yet fulfilled an agreement to buy more stock.

“They had committed to do that in March and pay a further $2.37 million to us. They haven’t yet made that payment and have had some delays at their end at raising further capital to enable them to do that.’’

Dargues mine’s previous owner, Cortona Resources, had announced in 2012 securing $42 million from Deutsche Bank to begin developing the underground mine and later announced a merger with Unity Mining to create a $90 million company to kick off the project, which has an initial six-year timeframe.

Unity has been proposing to take ore from Dargues to its processing plant at Bendigo for final processing. Mr Hill said the Victorian government had recently announced it would not require any further approvals for that to happen.

“But we think there are probably other economically superior options available to us, but we are still chasing those down.’’

In the meantime, a couple of people were on site at Dargues monitoring its environmental commitments and securing the site.

Mr Hill expected it would take 12 months to strike the mine’s first gold from the point they restarted development activities. But a start date was still unknown.


08/08 - Mandate for Bank Financing of Dargues Reef Development

Cortona Resources Limited (“Cortona”) is pleased to announce that it has
mandated Deutsche Bank AG (“Deutsche”) to provide a financing package
(“Financing Package”) of up to A$37 Million for the development of the
Dargues Reef Gold Project at Majors Creek in New South Wales.

Cortona received a number of indicative financing offers reflecting the robust
nature of the Dargues Reef deposit and its excellent financial potential. At
the current spot price of A$1,550/oz, Dargues Reef is forecast to deliver free
cash flows of ~A$112 million and a post-tax NPV (8% discount) in excess of
A$75 million dollars. Recent discoveries close to the planned development
highlight the potential for increased near term production and mine life,
while the resource also remains open at depth.

The Dargues Reef development is awaiting approval from the NSW Planning
Assessment Commission. Last week the NSW Department of Resources and
Investment made a positive recommendation for the development to be

The Financing Package includes a prepaid gold forward and requires Cortona
to commit to a gold hedging program (“Hedging Program”). The total
quantum of gold ounces committed under the Financing Package will be
dependent upon the prevailing spot price at financial close but is expected
to represent less than 30% of the existing proven and probable reserves at
Dargues Reef. The Hedging Program will secure the Company's repayment
obligations whilst providing Cortona with significant exposure to
the spot price in this very strong gold market.

Deutsche was appointed following the completion of a competitive process
facilitated by Optimum Capital Pty Ltd. The provision of the Financing
Package will be subject to due diligence, credit approvals, completion of
project finance documentation and typical conditions precedent for a
financing of this nature.


08/12 - Articles about the consequences of gold mining. Karis Majors Creek Landcare

1. General: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Year Book 2003, Mining and the Environment.
2. Arena Magazine, Australia's Mining Legacies, by Gavin M. Mudd, 2013.

About Bendigo gold mine sites, closed down by Unity Mining in 2011:
1. ABC, Unity Mining urged to make Bendigo rehab plans a priority, 24 Nov. 2014
2. ABC, The World Today, As Bendigo's gold mining boom ends, the city deals with the clean - up, 23 Aug. 2013

09/01 - Federal Court of Australia approves Cortona scheme of arrangement for merger with Unity

Cortona Resources Limited (Cortona) announces that the Federal Court
of Australia (Court) today ordered that the scheme of arrangement
between Cortona and its shareholders (Scheme), in relation to the
proposed merger with Unity Mining Limited (Unity), be approved. 

The Scheme will become effective once a copy of the Court order is
lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission,
which is expected to occur later today.  

An indicative timetable for the remaining steps to implement the 
Scheme is set out below.

All dates and times are references to the date and time in Perth, Australia and are
indicative only.  Any changes to the above timetable will be announced to ASX and
available on Cortona’s website www.cortonaresources.com.au.

Application for the admission of the New Unity Shares to trading on
ASX will be made by Unity and normal trading of the New Unity
Shares on ASX is expected to commence on 24 January 2013.

Capitalised terms used in this announcement have the same
meaning as set out in the Scheme Booklet dated 14 November
2012 (unless indicated otherwise). 


09/02 - Dargues Reef Gold Mine Set to Proceed Following Court Approval

ASX/Media Release – 9 February 2012

Land and Environment Court gives green light on 50koz pa mine

Australian gold company Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC) is
pleased to advise that its 100% owned Dargues Reef Gold Mine
located near Braidwood in NSW has been approved by the NSW

Land and Environment Court (“LEC”).

The Federal Government’s Department of Sustainability,

Environment, Water, Population and Communities has previously

given its approval for the mine to proceed.

The LEC decision follows Cortona successfully reaching
agreements with Eurobodalla Shire Council, Coastwatchers
Association Inc., and the South East Regional Conservation Alliance
Inc. that resulted in some modifications to the mine operating


The modifications are not expected to impact the forecast
production and capital cost at Dargues Reef, which is expected to
produce an average of 50,000 ounces of gold per annum over the

life of the mine.

Managing Director Peter van der Borgh said “We are very pleased
to have reached the end of this protracted approvals process, and
very pleased with the result, which clears the way for us to move

ahead with development of this project as rapidly as possible.

“The LEC ruling means that Cortona is now free to progress
outstanding permitting requirements to develop the project and we
look forward to proceeding with the Dargues Reef development for

the benefit of shareholders and the local community.”

Cortona has also received notice from the NSW Dams Safety
Committee that the design of the Tailings Storage Facility conforms
to the Committee’s requirements and is ready for construction.

Yours faithfully

Peter van der Borgh
Managing Director

09/02 - New Mine Website to counter critics

09/12 - Unity Mining auditor warns on gold's risky outlook

An auditor's report for a mining company proposing a new gold venture near Braidwood says the business could face an uncertain future given reductions in its cash reserves, lower gold price and risks associated with its Tasmanian gold mine.

Unity Mining needs to raise $70 million to develop Dargues gold mine near Majors Creek, and is applying for NSW Government approval to process ore on site using cyanide, which has dismayed some people in the area and downstream in the Araluen Valley.

In notes accompanying its financial statements for the 2014 financial year the company says it has enough cashflow for planned activities for at least 12 months, and can raise more money and scale back activities or sell assets if needed.

But its auditor says if unsuccessful in these measures, there is "material uncertainty whether the company and the consolidated entity will continue as a going concern and therefore whether they will realise their assets and discharge their liabilities in the normal course of business and at the amounts stated in the the financial report".

The auditor's report noted significant expenditure at Dargues, and poor operating performance at the Henty gold mine cut cash reserves.

Unity earlier this year suspended work at Dargues. At the Henty gold mine  Unity has cut costs, reviewed its production schedule and in July decided to recover higher margin reserves before ceasing mining operations at the end of 2015.

Unity chief executive Andrew McIlwain said the company had always acknowledged it had to raise money to develop Dargues. "It is not an issue of us being at risk of being insolvent by any means, and it is something our board attends to on a regular basis," he said.

"The gold industry and the project financing industry is changing at the moment. There are not many people spending  capital on projects, so the traditional debt financiers are looking at different things, and we are looking at different avenues by which we would fund the project, rather than potentially going to one of the key investment banks."

Mr McIlwain said Dargues was a key asset which Unity intended to use to build the company. Selling the project was highly unlikely, but taking on partners was not out of the question.

"Even if it is a debt facility you end up in a partner-type relationship because quite often debt providers will take some equity in your company as well," Mr McIlwain said.

He said they would leave no stone unturned in working out how to take the project forward, to make good on  providing prosperity in the district.

"I won't be a pig-headed to say there is only one way of doing that, if we have to become a partner with another entity in that project we would look at that."

Unity has chartered a plane and will take eight people from the Majors Creek area, including three members of a community consultative committee on a one-day tour of the Henty operation, to allow them to see an operating mine, what it looked and sounded like and to address concerns about cyanide use.


10/02 - Gold mine deal 'win for all'

Opponents of a proposed gold mine near Braidwood in southern New South Wales have struck a deal to boost the environmental safeguards for the project.

Cortona Resources received state and federal approval for the Majors Creek mine late last year.

But conservation groups and the neighbouring Eurobodalla Shire Council launched legal action in the NSW Land and Environment Court over concerns about the project's environmental impacts.

Last December the Eurobodalla Shire Council struck an agreement with Cortona Resources after the company made a number of concessions including improving the design of the tailings dam.

Now the Environmental Defenders Office, on behalf of the conservation groups, has successfully secured extra environmental safeguards.

Principle solicitor Kirsty Ruddock says the agreement has addressed the key areas of concern.

"The groups were very concerned about whether the mining was going to be done in accordance with best environmental practices and whether it was going to have an environmental impact particularly on the downstream water quality and also in relation to environmental issues in the region," she said.

Ms Ruddock says the company will also be making its environmental impact studies more transparent.

"There's going to be a larger number where water is going to be tested, and there's going to be a lot more information that's going to be made public," she said.

Author Jackie French lives in the Araluen Valley a few kilometres downstream from the proposed mine site.

She has been campaigning for stricter environmental conditions and describes the agreement as a win for all.

"We are absolutely overjoyed, this makes the most extraordinary difference," she said.

"The tailings dam is now going to be the safest possible, the water model is being redone, far more monitoring, far more sorts of different monitoring.

"Forty-six more safeguards that we'd asked for and the court too added another three safeguards"

Cortona Resources Managing Director Peter van der Borgh says he is pleased the uncertainty is over.

"From a community perspective it's a great outcome, the safeguards are in place," he said.

"From a company perspective it's a good outcome, the productivity levels are unchanged and for the community it's a great outcome because the employment, and training opportunities remain there as well."

Mr van der Borgh says they hope to begin the construction process this year.

"We're delighted to have reached the end of the process which has taken 26 months to get there," he said.

"We're looking forward now to going on and building a mine and delivering some opportunity to the district."


10/05 - Waratahs exploration (Majors South)

The Majors South project is comprised of a single exploration licence which covers an area of approximately 260 km2. The project is located 65km south east of Canberra and 5km south of the Majors Creek gold project held by Cortona Resources Limited (ASX:CRC) which continues to yield spectacular bonanza gold grades at Dargues Reeef of up to 103g/t. The current resource at Dargues Reef is 1.44Mt @ 6.2g/t for 286,000oz (http://www.cortonaresources.com.au/).

The hard rock gold deposits of the Majors Creek goldfield occur mainly in narrow (1-10cm) sub vertical quartz veins, which are generally associated with aplite dykes in east-west trending fractures. The aplite dykes incorporate hornblende granodiorite, an older phase of the Devonian Braidwood Granite, and are associated with all known reefs in the area

Historical mining focused on alluvial gold deposits of the Araluen/Upper Shoalhaven goldfields. Records show that production from these goldfields between 1858 and 1920 was in excess of 1.2 Moz Au.

WaratahÔÇÖs exploration focus will be centred on potential hard rock gold targets as opposed to alluvial targets. Based on detailed geochemical surveys and percussion drilling, the Long Flat Volcanics are also considered very prospective for gold mineralization.

Waratah has recently completed a review of the project area and are in the process of designing and planning an aeromagnetic and radiometric survey over the eastern portion of the tenement, which adjoins Cortona's tenement, to identify favourable structures for targeting of future drill programs.


10/10 - Gold mine legal challenge

The planned mine at Majors Creek is expected to produce 50,000 ounces of gold a year.

Legal action has begun against a proposed gold mine near the New South Wales town of Braidwood.

Western Australian company Cortona Resources is planning the six year mine at Majors Creek, 60 kilometres south-east of Canberra.

The mine was approved last month by the New South Wales Government and was also ticked off under the Commonwealth's Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

But the Eurobodalla Shire Council hopes to overturn the decision in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court.

Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Fergus Thomson says the legal action was prompted by concerns about a potential contamination of the area's water supply from the mine.

"What we need to do is ensure that everything that can be done to give us a guarantee that there won't be any failure in anything that happens in that mining project will jeopardise our water supply," he said.

"There would be the current mining that would go on during the process but there is also what happens into the long term with the storage of the tailings.

"We need to ensure and we need some really good safeguards put in place to make sure that in 10 years or 15 years, whatever it may be, that there isn't a failure that jeopardises the water supply for the Eurobodalla."

The Environmental Defender's Office New South Wales (EDO-NSW) has also lodged a court appeal on behalf of several conservation groups.

EDO-NSW principal solicitor Kirsty Ruddock says the group is challenging the merits of the decision because of concerns about groundwater and threatened species.

"Essentially we're saying to the court that they should refuse the approval," she said.

"If they were not minded to do that, that they should be granting much more strict conditions in relation to the approval that has been granted."

A hearing will take place in the Land and Environment Court in November.

Cortona Resources managing director Peter van der Borgh has previously described the mine as a model of environmental excellence, that is subject to very stringent conditions.


10/10 - Legal action over Majors Creek mine

Eurobodalla Shire Council and conservation groups are taking legal action after the approval of a mine at Majors Creek near Braidwood.

See video in below link


10/10 - Legal challenges to Dargues Reef mine

October 10, 2011 - 12:49PM

Cortona Resources believes it can defend legal action taken against the recent granting of environmental approval for its gold mine in New South Wales.

The company said on Monday that objections had been lodged in the NSW Land and Environment Court against the NSW Planning Minister's environmental approvals for the Dargues Reef mine, at Majors Creek, east of Canberra.

The Eurobodalla Shire Council and the NSW Environmental Defender's Office are behind the appeals.

The environmental approvals were granted last month.

Majors Creek is the largest historic goldfield in NSW.

The Dargues Reef project is expected to generate about 100 jobs during the construction phase and 80 long-term jobs, Cortona has said.

"The company believes that the measures it has committed to and implemented as part of its environmental obligations should position it well to successfully defend the challenge," Cortona managing director Peter van der Borgh said on a statement on Monday.

Until a judgement is made in the legal challenge, Cortona is entitled to rely on the environmental approvals to carry out its operations at Dargues Reef, he said.

Cortona shares were down 1.5 cents, or 11.5 per cent, at 11.5 cents at 12.24 AEDT.

© 2011 AAP



The November meeting of Palerang Council was moved to the National Theatre in anticipation of a large public gallery.

The agenda included the Council Submission to the Department of Planning on the Dargues Reef Mine and several questions from the gallery addressed the loss of Council staff positions in Braidwood.

Greg Sugden addressed the Council saying Our Councillors are so besotted with the general managerWell let me tell you, this love is not being shared outside the cosy, cloistered isolation of the Bungendore offices.What we see is Council rates skyrocketing and services being withdrawn.

Cheryl Raper asked ÔÇ£Why did the Mayor Councilor Raynolds, not attend the Public Meeting? Cr Raynolds you were elected to this Council, predominately by Braidwood citizens, to represent us, and our views.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£The way to represent us, is to hear what we feel about serious matters like Palerang CouncilÔÇÖs considerations of leaching staff from Braidwood to Bungendore and possibly closing the Braidwood office.ÔÇØ

Mrs Raper addressed the issue of the failed contract for the Water Treatment Plant asked ÔÇ£ What is the actual cost to Council for the withdrawal of Aquagenics from the water project?... ÔÇ£the money wasted on this contract could surely have fixed the Braidwood Office.ÔÇØ

On the subject of the Dargues Reef Gold Project, Murray Harrex expressed concern over the operating hours of the mine. 24 hours is not acceptable, were not building a mine in the middle of the Nullabor desert but a built up area.We will all lose substantially  he said.  Ive put my house on the market, and am moving to town.

Peter van der Borgh from Cortona Resources clarified items addressed by previous speakers and said ÔÇ£Modern day mining is all about the environment, communities, quality, and we believe we have come up with a facility here that addresses all of these things, mitigating the impacts.ÔÇØ

The Council went in committee to discuss issues of water, amenity, noise and other possible impacts. The conditions in the Business Paper were Carried with a request for the hours of operation to be limited to 12 hours per day Monday to Friday, and six hours on Saturday, with Council adding ÔÇ£that council expresses its concern about the adverse implications if it goes ahead and asks that the State impose conditions that are as rigorous as necessary.ÔÇØ

Read the complete report here



The Greens candidate for Monaro Paul Cockram said that it is unacceptable to develop a major regional processing facility and gold mine next to the village of Majors Creek.

The Dargues Reef Gold Project proposed by Cortona will have serious impacts on the community of Majors Creek through industrial noise, increased traffic, dust pollution and high risk to drinking and stock water from the creek and bores. Also at risk are regionally significant vegetation communities, threatened species and conservation reserves as well as the surface and ground waters of Majors Creek, Araluen Valley and the Deua River Catchment.

An independent report commissioned by Eurobodalla Shire Council has also slammed the project, identifying high risks to the Deua Catchment including pollution by sewage, hydrocarbons and chemicals.

ÔÇ£Cortona propose to use the reagents Potassium Amyl Xanthate and Nitric Acid. Xanthates may be toxic to aquatic biota at concentrations of less than 1 mg/L and can be a water contaminant downstream of mining operations,ÔÇØ said Paul.

ÔÇ£The project is part of a larger development that is looking to expand north from Majors Creek as far as Bombay. Cortona is drilling in the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment at Exeter Farm and are continuing exploration activities for gold and silver.ÔÇØ

The proponent, Cortona Resources, has recently provided responses to the thousands of submissions received about the project.

The proponent has stated that the Gold Project represents ÔÇÿa single, highly-regulated operation in a catchment with numerous agricultural and other operations, all of which have the potential to adversely impact on water users downstream of the Project SiteÔÇÖ.

ÔÇ£Commercial orchard growers in the Araluen Valley represent an important sustainable industry, and are involved in Landcare and are concerned with water use,ÔÇØ said Paul.

ÔÇ£The proponent has not addressed the change in climate with shorter, more intense periods of rainfall, because they claim they donÔÇÖt need to.

ÔÇ£Although the proponent appears confident about water modelling, they recently conceded that: ÔÇÿit is the role of the relevant government agencies to assess the adequacy or otherwise of documents provided in support of applications for project approvalÔÇÖ.

ÔÇ£This is another case where the rural community is taking second place to mining,ÔÇØ concluded Paul Cockram.

The Dargues Reef Gold Project is currently under assessment and can be viewed at: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/


11/03 - Creek threat: a hard rain and mine spill.

Owner of Wisbey's Orchards in Araluen Robyn Clubb concerned about the environmental impact of the Goldmine near Major's Creek.

Owner of Wisbey's Orchards in Araluen Robyn Clubb concerned about the environmental impact of the Goldmine near Major's Creek.

It's mid-morning on the banks of Majors Creek near Araluen, and the only noise likely to disturb orchardist Robyn Clubb and her dogs comes from squabbling crimson parrots in the casuarinas above them.

Dragonflies skim over the wind-ruffled water while pardalotes and silvereyes can be heard in the distance, above the croaking of frogs.

Heavy rainfall turns the creek into a raging torrent. Its fury is equal to the anger that erupted in the Araluen district and downstream in Eurobodalla Shire when construction on a goldmine upstream discharged sediment into the catchment.

In one angry email exchange, a shire officer said the mine's description of the discharge being an inconvenience was ''offensive''.

''Uncontrolled discharges of sediment-laden stormwater is not an inconvenience, but an event that could have been avoided,'' he said.

A coalition of farmers and environmentalists warned during the Dargues Reef mine's planning that proponents had under-estimated rainfall, mistakenly relying on Braidwood's rainfall, which was 20 per cent less than Majors Creek's.

Mrs Clubb said extremely heavy rain, such as the 110 millimetres that fell in 45 minutes on one occasion in 2010, was not unusual, because of the influence of coastal weather and the surrounding mountains.

Nor was the rain that triggered the latest deluge and spillage into the creek, which is being investigated by the Environmental Protection Authority.

EPA spokesman Gary Whytcross said legal investigations were complex and the authority had 12 months to consider whether to prosecute. The decision would be made public.

Mrs Clubb said the Araluen Valley Agricultural Producers and Protectors of the Ecosystem Coalition would be meeting Unity Mining's chief executive, Andrew McIllwain, to set out their concerns.

''He says his track record shows a high standard, we're hopeful that we won't have to worry. We're hoping for a clean sheet and integrity. That would be a good start.''

The coalition previously battled Cortona Resources during the planing stages, before the Perth-based gold company merged with Unity Mining.

Mrs Clubb said that, although the coalition was mislead previously on issues, its submissions - and the Environmental Defenders Office - had made headway and had achieved tighter conditions for the tailings dam, including raising a retaining wall and creating a channel outside the wall.

Mrs Clubb said rainfall data submitted to planners seemed to disappear into the ether.

Following the spillage, the coalition hoped the EPA would revisit the tailings dam's capacity in extreme rain.

11/06 - ASX Announcement

PDF icon 20140610_Moly-Form-604.pdf528.19 KB

Notice of change of interest - substantial holder

11/10 - Council bid to stop Braidwood mine

11 Oct, 2011 04:00 AM

Eurobodalla Shire Council has launched legal action to contest NSW planning and environmental approval for a $240million underground gold mine at Majors Creek, near Braidwood.

Araluen residents, including best-selling Diary of a Wombat author Jackie French, are also challenging federal environmental approval for the mine, demanding Environment Minister Tony Burke provide a detailed scientific explanation of why the approval was granted.

The group has questioned whether adequate wildlife surveys were conducted to support the decision.

Eurobodalla councillor Graham Scobie said they were concerned the mine would adversely affect the South Coast's $350million tourism industry by decreasing water supplies to local towns.

''While I can appreciate the economic benefits this mine may bring to the people of Majors Creek, tourism is our major industry on the South Coast, and hundreds of jobs depend on having good water flows coming down the river, '' he said.

The council has lodged an objection to the NSW Government's approval for the mine - which is estimated to generate 80 full-time jobs - with the NSW Land and Environment Court.

The NSW Environmental Defenders Office has also lodged an objection with the court on behalf of two local community environment groups, Coastwatchers and the South-East Conservation Alliance.

West Australian gold exploration company Cortona Resources said it believed it could successfully defend the legal challenges.

Managing director Peter van der Borgh said, ''The company believes that the measures it has committed to and implemented as part of its environmental obligations should position it well to successfully defend the challenge.''

Until a judgment is made by the court, Cortona was entitled to rely on the NSW and federal approvals to carry out its operations at the Dargues Reef mine site, he said.

But NSW Environmental Defenders Office principal solicitor Kirsty Ruddock said an injunction to stop land clearing and other development works at the Majors Creek mine site could not be ruled out.

''That is certainly one course of action that is open to us, if the development works are extensive,'' she said.

Mr Scobie said Eurobodalla Shire Council voted last week to take legal action to contest the NSW Government's approval for the mine ''chiefly because of concerns about water''.

''As any Canberra visitors to the South Coast will know, we quite often have water restrictions.''

The council had recently invested $57million in new water infrastructure - a $33million pipeline and a $24million water treatment plant - and these would be affected by any reduction in river flows.

''We are also concerned that the tailings dam for the mine will be built within our water catchment,'' Mr Scobie said.

Conditions imposed by the NSW Government approval require Cortona to develop detailed environmental management plans before mining begins. They include plans to reduce greenhouse emissions, manage water use and protect Aboriginal heritage.

Cortona must also prepare a comprehensive biodiversity management plan, and fund 272ha of biodiversity offsets to compensate for loss of threatened species.


11/11 - Mine modifications to include processing

Unity Mining Limited Managing Director and CEO Andrew McIlwain announced yesterday that the next steps in advancing the development of its $250 million Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek, including the final processing of the ore right through to gold bars. 

The company held an Information session at Major Creek last night to explain the developments to the community.

Unity Mining acquired the Dargues Gold Mine in January 2013 and since then has completed pre-development works and undertaken technical reviews to determine the best way forward to activate the project. Unity Mining will submit a modification to the existing planning approval later this year. 

With a forecast production rate of 50,000 ounces of gold per year, the project is expected to have a 6 year life based on current reserves, including a 12 month construction period and 5 years operation. When underway the gold mine will generate employment, training and education in the local area with about 100 jobs during construction and 120 residential jobs during operation of the mine. 

Mr McIllain said “Increased employment in the area means opportunities for local small businesses to gear up to service this jobs boost. This project could see the revival of the area’s 1850s gold mining history as a local attraction.”

The project also has broad community benefits with $26.5 million already spent on preparatory works, wages, road works and maintenance, rates, community sponsorships and with local businesses, as well as a commitment of $375,000 towards a recreation facility in Braidwood and forecast NSW royalties of about $10 million. 

With Unity’s Henty Mine in northern Tasmania winding down, Mr McIllwain said that Dargues is “still a substantial project and a key part of Unity's portfolio.” 

“Over the last six months we have completed technical, engineering and financial modelling work to take the project forward” he said. Modifications to the Development Application will include the access road location, the stockpile location, the formal finish date of the project will be extended and final processing of the the ore to be onsite, using cyanide separation.

Mr McIllwain said “the good news is that 2000 or so trucks will be off the local roads.”

Any modification would have to go through Palerang Council, and the Department of Planning.

When the mine site was developed by Cortona Resources, the company insisted that there would be no final processing on-site when faced with stiff opposition from downstream water users.


Alex Rea


11/12 - Unity hedges Henty gold production

Unity is pleased to announce that it has taken advantage of recent volatility in the
A$ gold price to enter into gold hedging contracts on favourable terms. 15,000 oz
of gold put options have been acquired to hedge approximately 70% of Henty’s
forecast gold production during January to June 2015. The puts provide the
company with the right, but not the obligation, to sell 2500 oz of gold per month
over that period at a price of A$1445/oz, while still retaining full exposure to
increases in the gold price above that level.

Henty has continued to outperform against production and cost targets during
October and November 2014. A full update on the company’s activities will be
provided in the quarterly report in January 2015. 



12/01 - Plums Lode extended, drilling recommences at Majors Creek

Wednesday , 12 Jan 2011

Plums Lode extended ~150 metres below current resource, 2 RC rigs in operation targeting additional near mine resources

Latest results extend Plums Lode a further 150m down plunge of current resource envelope
6m @ 5.63g/t gold from 478m (within a zone of 10m @ 4.07g/t from 474m)
Two RC rigs have recommenced shallow drilling at Majors Creek targeting near mine prospects:

Extensions to Ruby Lode and Chinaman's
Other recent discoveries at Hughen and Carmine
New areas of interest

Cortona Resources Limited ("Cortona" "the Company") (ASX:CRC) is pleased to advise that drilling has recommenced at Majors Creek following the Christmas break.

Two RC drilling rigs are operating on site, where Cortona has recently announced high grade gold and silver discoveries that have the potential to increase the resource inventory.

Results from a deep hole at Plums Lode have confirmed broad mineralisation grading 6m @ 5.63g/t gold (within a broader zone of 10m @ 4.07g/t gold). The intercept is ~80m below the deepest previous hole, and 150m deeper than the current resource envelope, and demonstrates the potential to add significant ounces to the current resource.

Cortona's Managing Director Peter van der Borgh commented "We have jumped out of the blocks at the start of what we believe will be the most exciting year in the Company's history, one that will see Cortona realise its ambition of transitioning from gold explorer to gold producer.

"In order to build on the base case of fifty to sixty thousand ounce per annum development currently under application, we shall be aggressively drilling a range of promising shallow targets that have the potential to add to the current resources and reserves, and rapidly grow this project into a leading Australian gold story."

Cortona has identified a range of shallow gold targets close to the planned development at Dargues Reef. These include the Ruby Lode, located approximately 150 metres northeast of Dargues Reef. The discovery hole at Ruby Lode returned 12.6m @ 9.90g/t approximately 80 metres below the surface, and follow-up drilling has returned several other very significant intercepts along strike. More recently Cortona announced the discovery of high grade silver (1m @ 687g/t, or 22oz/t) at Hughen, ~600m north of Dargues.

Other key near-mine targets at Dargues include:

Chinaman's Prospect: where previous drilling returned returned 4m @ 28.0g/t ~70 metres below the surface. Three follow up holes have returned results which include 0.7m @ 77.0g/t. Chinaman's is located 100m south west of Dargues Reef;

Scarlet Prospect: located ~200m west of Dargues Reef, where a soil anomaly is coincident with historic prospecting pits;

Carmine Prospect: located 350 metres north of Dargues Reef which was discovered with an intercept of 3.4m @ 3.2g/t high up in one of the deep step out holes at Dargues Reef;
Thompsons and Thompsons South Prospects: sites of historic mining where previous drill holes have intercepted anomalous gold mineralisation; and

Additional shallow near-mine targets including historic prospecting pits, soil anomalies and Dargues ÔÇÿlook-alike' structures.

Targets further afield that have returned promising results from initial drill holes include Copper Ridge (1km), Hughen (600m), Tullock (800m), Snobs (1km) and Dreadnought (1km).


12/08 - Fears mine may have polluted creeks


Author Jackie French on her Never Break Hills property. Photo: Melissa Adams

The NSW Environment Protection Authority is investigating whether a mining company's stormwater treatment has polluted surrounding creeks east of Braidwood.

A routine inspection uncovered a chemical flocculent in stormwater collection ponds that may have drained into a tributary of Majors Creek. Test results are expected on Monday.

The EPA's Gary Whytcross said it was disappointing to discover potential for pollution a week after the discharge.

He said Unity Mining subsidiary Big Island Mining, which is building an underground gold mine at Majors Creek, was under investigation on whether it polluted water and breached the Protection of the Environment Operations Act.

''While BIM's attempts to treat the stormwater may have been well intentioned, the EPA is concerned about the potential impacts of the chemical on downstream waters as flocculent can be harmful to aquatic life if discharged directly into a waterway.''

Downstream landholder Jackie French said the EPA warned her late on Friday not to use water drawn from Majors Creek.

She said the flocculent manufacturer's full disclosure said it could be toxic in high concentration, but did not contain any data to measure several key health indicators.

''They know it is toxic to fish, but they are the only tests which appear to be done. The supplier's full disclosure document says tests have not been done on anything other than rainbow trout.''

Mr Whytcross said the EPA had not observed or received any reports of dead aquatic life but would continue to monitor the health of the creek and had advised NSW Health.

He said BIM had advised the EPA it had tested the discharged waters for a range of parameters but did not test for chemicals, so it remained unclear whether any chemical was discharged or made its way into Majors Creek.

Uniting Mining chief executive Andrew McIlwain said flocculent, which was used, among other things, to clean swimming pools, had been in use since the end of February. It bound together particles so fine they sometimes looked like milk. He said the
stormwater was irrigated onto paddocks but to his knowledge had not been discharged into creeks.

Information on material data safety sheets had raised concerns, but those related to highly concentrated applications - as if you were putting your hand into a bucketful of the material.

12/08 - The EDO is calling for community experiences relating to mining

The EDO is calling for community experiences relating to mining

Are you a landholder confronted with problems caused by mining? The EDO is collating evidence for a discussion paper on problems faced by the community with respect to mining. Although we have plenty of examples from our existing cases and clients, the EDO would like to hear from you if you have experienced problems and haven't spoken with us to date. The issues we are particularly looking for relate to:

* the acquisition process of your property;
* a lack of a precautionary approach taken to underground mining and water issues;
* nuisance issues associated with mining (noise, dust, etc);
* breaches of conditions of current mining operations;

Please contact Kirsty Ruddock at kirsty.ruddock@edo.org.au or on 9262 6989 prior to Friday 20 August 2010.

12/09 - Gold mine attracts mixed response

A community group in the Araluen Valley, in south east New South Wales, says it remains concerned about a new gold mine.

The Dargues Reef development was given the green light last week, and the Majors Creek Community Liaison Committee says some will welcome the announcement.

The Chairman, Bill Waterhouse, says it will bring jobs to the region.

But he says many in the community are not comfortable with issues such as water quality.

"As a community liaison community, we need to make sure that the community's voice is heard, and ensure that all the voices of the community are heard, even the quiet ones," he said.

"They're a diverse group of voices - some people fervently in favour of the mine, and others just as fervently against it.

"So from here, I suspect we need to have another public meeting to find out what the general feeling of the community is."

The Greens have called for further action to stop the development.

A Greens councillor with the Palerang Shire and last year's Eden-Monaro candidate, Catherine Moore, says the party is considering lodging an appeal against the decision by the Planning Assessment Commission.

Clr Moore says consultation was limited, and pollution controls will not be effective.

She says a public meeting is essential.

"Some people are talking about a legal challenge, which would be done through the Environmental Defenders Office," she said.

"The water for the coast is a huge issue; 80 per cent of Eurobodalla water comes from that catchment.

"We feel none of these things have been adequately addressed.

"There's no guarantee that the water supply is not threatened."

The company behind the development, Cortona Resources, says the consultation process was thorough, and the Commission has enforced strict guidelines to protect the surrounding environment.


12/11 - 2014 Annual General Meeting

12/11 - Unity Mining proposes cyanide processing at Majors Creek

A goldminer fined for polluting water-catchment creeks three times last year wants to use cyanide at its new underground goldmine near Majors Creek, east of Canberra.

"The Dick Dastardly bit about cyanide comes from spy movies and hangover from the Second World War," says Unity Mining's managing director, Andrew McIlwain. "It's potentially toxic, but handled and managed in the right scenario, it is very safe."

As for pollution during earthworks on the new mine, Mr McIlwain said that was not Unity's finest hour. "We have taken our 40 lashes and paid our fines. It is not something we are very proud of, but circumstances were quite different," he said.

Unity originally said ore would be trucked off site and processed at Parkes, but this week suggested building a plant for cyanide processing near Majors Creek to separate gold from ore.

The announcement has alarmed downstream food producers and Eurobodalla Shire, which wants to keep its water catchment for 140,000 people in summer in pristine condition.

Downstream landholder Jackie French said final processing of ore at Majors Creek introduced a new risk from lead, cadmium, zinc and dust, which was potentially worse than cyanide.

Araluen Valley Protection and Producers Coalition president Penny Hayman said she was stunned.

"We have seen [Unity's] share price go down and knew there would be some sort of change, but didn't really expect them to go this far."

Ms Hayman said within two weeks of mine construction, Unity had polluted Spring and Majors creeks. The Land and Environment Court ordered Unity to pay $196,000 in penalties and costs, including to the Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group.

"It is ironic that when our landcare group was awarded money because of these breaches, they are proposing something infinitely more dangerous," Ms Hayman said.

Eurobodalla Shire's director of infrastructure services, Warren Sharpe, said Majors Creek flowed into Deua and then to Moruya Rivers, one of the shire's three main off-takes from where water was pumped to a creek near Batemans Bay and serviced the entire shire of 40,000 people in winter and 120,000 in summer.

Concerned about chemical processing and rock extraction, Eurobodalla challenged NSW Planning's first approval for the mine, only withdrawing after significant modifications were made for better water-supply protection.

"[Unity] is introducing a process where we are keenly interested at looking at what is being proposed because there's a new risk being introduced into the catchment," Mr Sharpe said. 

"They are doing their environmental assessment at the moment and we will be going through those with a fine-tooth comb for sure."

Palerang mayor Pete Harrison said the cyanide proposal worried the community because Unity had previously ruled this out.

"My professional background is as a chemist. I understand why people react to it. I am not as concerned as some people might be about the whole thing," Cr Harrison said. "Where the facility exists there's a risk and where the facility doesn't exist there isn't; it is as simple as that."

Mr McIlwain said instead of 2200 trucks a eyar carrying ore through Braidwood to Parkes, six trucks would deliver the cyanide in briquettes contained in a cylinder built within a shipping container.

"Before the solution leaves the processing facility, it is chemically destroyed and brought down to quite safe levels and discharged to a tailings facility. It breaks down under ultra-violet light. It breaks down over time and it doesn't bio-accummulate. It is not like a heavy metal in the food stream," Mr McIlwain said.

John Thistleton

12/12 - Author's rally cry against mine

Author Jackie French has gone public with a desperate plea for information to save endangered species from the proposed Dargues Reef gold mine.

French, author of the children's book Diary of a Wombat, is putting together a submission to the Federal Environment Department on the impact of the planned mine.

She said she had just nine days to compile the submission and was frantically trying to track down academics or conservationists who had conducted research on rare and endangered creatures living in the Majors Creek gorge, near the proposed mine site.

''We need anyone who has studied in this area and so many academics and PhD students have ... from doing surveys of the endangered orchids, [to] the New Holland mouse. We simply don't have records of how to contact these people,'' she said.

''But also to anyone who can help us prepare a submission on the need to preserve the remnant rainforest in this area. But we've only got nine days to do it ... at the worst time of the year.''

French said many academics she had tried to contact were already away on Christmas holidays.

Mining company Cortona plans to construct a gold mine at Majors Creek near Braidwood, including a 25m tailings dam just 4km upstream from French's property in the Araluen Valley.

French fears that the mine's water demands will leave the valley parched and the tailings dam could poison the environment.

She said the Department of Environment had asked for public comment on the project by December 21.

''The area directly beneath the proposed Dargues Reef mine and turning centre is possibly the richest area in Australia for rare and endangered species,'' she said.

''The gorge is so deep it goes more than 300m top to bottom. It means there's a range of microclimates, so there are species here that don't exist anywhere else in the wild, from orchids to eucalypts.''

12/12 - Digging deep: Modern-day miners' quest for community approval

Unity Mining's Managing Director Andrew McIlwain answers questions from Majors Creek residents at his company's tailings dam in Henty, Tasmania

Unity Mining's Managing Director Andrew McIlwain answers questions from Majors Creek residents at his company's tailings dam in Henty, Tasmania

It's 6:30am and the managing director of Unity Mining is standing on the tarmac at Canberra airport.

"G'day, I'm Andrew, welcome."

Andrew McIlwain is dressed in jeans, boots and a rugby jumper as he enthusiastically greats critics of his company's proposed goldmine near Braidwood, between Canberra and New South Wales' South Coast.

He is about to board a small plane, chartered to take half a dozen people from Majors Creek, Araluen and along the Deua River in NSW, on a day-trip to the company's mine in Tasmania.

It's all part of a concerted effort to persuade them Unity's plans for their region aren't to be feared.

"We want to live and work in those communities, we want to be accepted and we want people to understand what we're about," Mr McIlwain said.

The company already has approval for an underground mine at the site, but locals, who initially acquiesced, are now crying foul.

Last month Unity announced it was scrapping plans to truck the ore away.AUDIO: seeking social licence, how far will mining companies go? (ABC Rural)It will instead seek approval to build a sodium cyanide processing facility and tailings dam onsite.

That change has upset many.

"Some of us in the community do feel a little bit betrayed," said architect Matt Darwon, who moved to Majors Creek eight years ago.

"I am fearful."

'No Cyanide' has been painted in large capital letters on the road outside the mine's entrance.

"Certainly trust is something that has been put to us," Andrew McIlwain acknowledged, having just completed a tour of the Henty goldmine and tailings storage dam, which is surrounded by western Tasmania's rugged beauty.

"People refer to social licence, but it's about in fact the stakeholders we engage with understanding our business.

"It's very difficult sitting in Majors Creek to understand what a goldmine might mean.

"I think people were quite taken aback by the lack of scale and the impact we have here in what's a very pristine environment."

The big worry for people living in Majors Creek and downstream is that steep slopes below the site mean any spill, however small, has the potential to reach Araluen's orchards or affect Eurobodalla's drinking water.

Among the group is the Eurobodalla Shire Council's water manager, Brett Corven.

"My concern is for the fate of the contaminants and the mine's tailings facility," he said.

Majors Creek is a tributary of the Deua River, and Mr Corven was anxious to see how the company plans to safeguard the catchment.

"Eurobodalla gets 60 per cent of its drinking water from the Deua River."

Easing those concerns is why Unity has spent $10 thousand to bring this group to Henty, to see, hear and smell a goldmine in operation.

"If you look around here, we're in a wilderness area of Tasmania with three metres of rainfall a year you know," said Mr McIlwain.

"This is what we do for our business," he says of the company's experience.

With an explanation and tour of the cyanide processing facility complete, he's showing the group the tailings dam where the operation treats and releases water used in extracting the gold.

"That water flows into Lake Plimsoll, where people fish for trout," he said of its cleanliness.

Future in the balance

The stakes for Unity are high.

With the known reserves at Henty likely to be exhausted by late next year, the company is counting on extracting the estimated 327,000 ounces of gold at Majors Creek for ensure its survival.

Unity has already spent $70 million on developing the Majors Creek mine, which Andrew McIlwain says would employ 100 people.

Damian Big, who lives in the town and runs nearby Braidwood's hardware store, believes the benefits outweigh the risks.

"It's been very interesting to come down and have a look at all this and see how well they've done it. That makes you feel a little bit better about it.

"They're a good customer, also [in] any small town, this kind of industry coming in only benefits the town."

But although all are complimentary of the company's effort to engage, not everyone in the group is convinced.

"The questions remain," said Peter Cormick, as he prepared to board the plane at Burnie, on return to Canberra.

"If everything is done according to plan, there really is no problem.

"But it's not the operation itself, but where it is placed that is the concern."

The company expects to submit an environmental impact statement to the Department of Planning early in 2015.


12/12 - Impact of Unity Mining's Majors Creek mine needs to be fully tested

Unity Mining's application to modify court-imposed conditions and build on-site processing and a facility using cyanide in Majors Creek should not proceed.

A new Gold Mine has been proposed near the town of Majors Creek. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

A new Gold Mine has been proposed near the town of Majors Creek. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

At a public meeting on November 11, 2014, the Majors Creek community learned that Unity Mining would ignore its promises of the past six years and attempt to modify the conditions imposed by the Land and Environment Court by applying to build an on-site processing facility at the Dargues Reef mine on the edge of town. 

The processing method of choice will be cyanide leaching and a tailings dam storage facility on a steep escarpment at the headwaters of the Eurobodalla water system. In an opinion piece published in The Canberra Times on November 28, Unity Mining chief executive Andrew McIlwain said the mine would "bring significant prosperity at a time when employment opportunities in the region are scarce". 

As with McIlwain's very public assertions that cyanide would not be used at Dargues Reef, his mantra of economic prosperity deserves scrutiny. 

A detailed assessment of the existing economic activity and assets in the Araluen valley has not been completed. Is it not crucial to weigh up the associated economic risks involved with the proposed modifications to the existing approval, against the status quo? 

The Araluen valley has niche market stone fruit orchards, located directly downstream of the mine within eight kilometres of the mine's proposed tailings dam. These orchards, along with cattle production, are the backbone of the rural enterprises along the river. Throughout the valley, full-time and seasonal workers are directly employed with indirect flow-on effects throughout the valley and the Braidwood area in the supply of rural equipment and services. 

Additionally, the valley supports a sustainable "experiential" style tourist industry with easy access to Monga and Deua national parks, state forests and the Araluen Creek and Deua River. Currently, this productive valley and the Deua waterway generate significant income and support an increasing level of employment, which no doubt will be put at risk if the proposed modifications are approved. The orchard owners, farmers, market gardeners, tourism operators, writers and workshops would require a significant level of compensation if the mine activity resulted in pollution or reduced water availability, hindering or possibly putting an end to their incomes.

Look at it in these terms. One breach of the tailings dam could potentially close the mine indefinitely and impact every business down the length of the waterway below. 

Who will be accountable for revenue losses if this occurred? From October to April, the Deua catchment provides about 60 per cent of drinking water to a standing population of 40,000 and a combined resident/holiday maker population of about 120,000. For the remainder of the year — again, to a mix of residents and holidaymakers — it provides 100 per cent of the drinking water. The Tuross River is the other major source of water for the shire. 

The proposed cyanide plant and smelter is at the headwaters of the South Coast's water system which is upstream from two conservation reserves, home to more than 20 endangered, vulnerable or critically endangered species, is a vital migratory corridor and the only safe permanent water for countless local species. The residents of Majors Creek, Jembaicumbene, Araluen, Braidwood and Moruya who oppose these proposed changes believe Unity Mining is prepared to compromise the welfare of these local communities and environment for the sake of profit. All this is brought about by lower international gold prices. Is this fair and just? No it isn't. 

The proposed modifications to the development threaten far more local jobs and income than Unity claims it will provide.

In the first six months of its operation, Unity Mining was prosecuted and fined for three environmental breaches. Big Island Mining Pty Ltd was convicted after pleading guilty to three water pollution offences which occurred at the Dargues Reef goldmine near Majors Creek in February and March 2013, and was ordered to pay fines and costs of almost $200,000.

The concept "mean time to first failure" is often used to evaluate the capability of a project. The Dargues project operated for less than a fortnight before its first failure.

This issue is even more alarming when considering Unity's impact on the city of Bendigo in Victoria. The Bendigo Advertiser reported recently on a community petition demanding urgent rehabilitation works at mining sites across Bendigo. 

The petition called on Unity Mining to produce plans for rehabilitation works at its Eaglehawk, New Moon, Woodvale and Kangaroo Flat mines. 

In his opinion piece, McIlwain said: "What I ask is that you consider the modification that Unity is proposing with the same rigour that you apply to other decisions that you make for the benefit of your family and the community in which you live". McIlwain should sleep well knowing that we will do just that.

A community-run Get Up Campaign addressed to NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward is about to register 1000 signatures of people opposed to on-site processing and a facility using cyanide in Majors Creek. The proposed modifications, by the Department of Planning's own previous admission, should require a new application and Unity Mining should do just that, submit an entirely new development application and environmental assessment. One must ask, what legacy will this local community and mining company leave for our children and future generations?

Mat L. Darwon  is a resident of Majors Creek.


12/12 - Residents flown to Tassie mine

ON TOUR: Bay Post/Moruya Examiner editor Carmen McIntosh, James Bennett from ABC Canberra, Unity Mining managing director Andrew McIllwain, Deua River Valley resident Peter Cormick, Majors Creek residents Richard Pearce and Damien Bigg, Eurobodalla resident and Coastwatchers representative Julia Mayo-Ramsay, Araluen resident David Lever and Brett Corven from Eurobodalla Shire Council.

ON TOUR: Bay Post/Moruya Examiner editor Carmen McIntosh, James Bennett from ABC Canberra, Unity Mining managing director Andrew McIllwain, Deua River Valley resident Peter Cormick, Majors Creek residents Richard Pearce and Damien Bigg, Eurobodalla resident and Coastwatchers representative Julia Mayo-Ramsay, Araluen resident David Lever and Brett Corven from Eurobodalla Shire Council.

UNITY Mining flew eight community stakeholders to its Tasmanian mine on Wednesday to see how it processes gold with cyanide firsthand.

The six residents and two media representatives were flown on a chartered flight to the Apple Isle and were shown around the Henty Gold Mine’s processing plant.

The trip was part of Unity Mining’s commitment to ensure residents were informed prior to it lodging a modification to its Dargues project at Majors Creek. 

The Henty Gold Mine, adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, produces gold using a cyanide leach facility similar to that which is planned for Dargues.

Unity Mining is seeking a modification to the existing planning approval to advance the development of its $250 million project. The proposed modification includes allowing final gold processing with cyanide on site.

Previously the miner planned to truck its product to Parkes for processing, however a complex legal challenge over use of the facility struck it off the option list.

Unity’s managing director Andrew McIllwain said on Wednesday he respected the community’s concern.

He said the company had looked at alternatives other than doing final gold processing processing at Dargues, but none were as viable.

These included  selling the product to a gold processing facility and taking over another company with a processing facility.

Residents who attended the trip were largely positive about what they had seen.

Majors Creek resident Damien Bigg said it was good to go down and see the operations firsthand, as there was a lot of misinformation in the community.

He still had concerns about processing noise, however.

“It will send straight across the area – there’s not one person in Majors Creek that’s not going to hear it,” he said.

“Night-time is the issue.”

Fellow Majors Creek resident Richard Pearce had several concerns about the use of cyanide, particularly the amount used and what happened to it after processing.

After the tour, however, his concerns were allayed.

“I think it was fantastic,” he said

It certainly changed my opinion of the use of cyanide in mines.”

He was particularly pleased that the cyanide pellets would be processed in self-contained pods.

Mr Pearce still holds concerns about how the tailings storage facility, an open air lined pit for treated water and waste products, would fit into the Dargues project.

• A community information session on the Dargues project will be held on Wednesday, December 17, between 2pm and 7pm, at the Luhana Motel in Moruya. Experts will be on hand to answer any questions residents may have about the mining process.


13/03 - Development of Dargues Gold Mine - Progress in pictures (2nd Update)

We have recovered from the challenging conditions resulting from the significant rainfall that occurred throughout NSW at the end of February.
The ROM pad earthworks have now reached their final level and the box cut excavation is starting to take shape with approximately 65,000 cubic metres of earth moved.
Final preparations are being made for the formal engagement of the construction contractor, having finalised the planning for relocation of Bendigo plant and infrastructure to Dargues.
A further six employees have been appointed to the project over the past few weeks - importantly, four of the six are local residents from nearby communities.
See Attached

13/04 - Development of Dargues Gold Mine - Progress in pictures (3rd Update)

With the finalisation of the ROM pad earthworks, excavation  of the box cut is happening apace.
Offsite, preparations are being made for the transfer of the first parts of the Bendigo infrastructure to Dargues this month.
Total workforce on site is currently 38 and this week we finalised the appointment of the project’s General Manager who will commence in May.

14/04 - Gold mine moves closer to reality

The company behind a proposed gold mine west of Moruya on the New South Wales far south coast says it is making progress in seeing the project become a reality.
Cortona Resources has announced an agreement with the mining group GBF, to work on the Dargues Reef Project in the Araluen Valley.

Cortona's Managing Director, Peter Van Der Borgh, has rejected claims an assessment of the environmental impact of the mine is inaccurate.

And he says the site is showing increasing potential.

"Our exploration is continuing," he said.

"We've made a couple of discoveries within the current mine proposal, within a couple of hundred metres, and we're currently drilling those further to investigate how far they extend."

Mr Van Der Borgh says he rejects claims an assessment of the environmental impacts is not accurate.

"No expert opinion is saying that," he said.

"It's been given the tick by all regulatory authorities, so I wouldn't see that as being the case at all.

"We've been through, at the state level at least, all the public consultation processes, and the project has moved through the Department of Planning."

Construction is expected to begin in the middle of the year, with the mine becoming fully operational in the following nine to 12 months.


14/05 - Results of Cortona Resources Limited – General Meeting

The Directors of Cortona Resources Limited are pleased to announce that at the General Meeting of Shareholders held today, all resolutions put to the meeting  were passed unanimously by a show of hands.

In accordance with Section 251AA (2) of the Corporations Act 2001 the Company hereby provides the following information on proxy votes:

Resolution 1
Ratification of Prior  Issue – Share  Placement

FOR : 16,529,540  AGAINST: 100,000  ABSENT :NIL  DISCRETIONARY : 831,810  INVALID :Nil 

TOTAL: 17,461,350

Resolution 2
Placement of Share Purchase Plan Shortfall Shares

FOR : 16,529,540  AGAINST: 100,000  ABSENT :NIL  DISCRETIONARY : 831,810  INVALID :Nil  
TOTAL: 17,461,350





Click on the following link to

14/09 - Dargues Reef Community Consultative Committee

With the NSW Planning Assessment Commission recently approving Cortona
Resource's application to develop the Dargues Reef mine, expressions
of interest are now being sought from interested parties to join a
Community Consultative Committee for the Project.

The Dargues Reef Community Consultative Committee (DRCCC) will be one
of several mechanisms for Cortona Resources to engage and liaise with
local communities. It does not seek to replace any existing
organisations or comittees. Please see the attached document for more
information about the DRCCC and if you're interested in joining,
please direct your expression of interest to:

Peter Gordon
Independent Chairperson
Dargues Reef Gold Project
Through email to pgordon@economicfutures.com.au; or by mail to
PO Box 5519
Kingston ACT 2604

Please include your name, preferred contact details and a brief
outline on why you would like to be part of the Committee

14/10 - Appointment of Chief Financial Officer

Unity Mining Limited (ASX:UML) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Ben Stockdale as Chief Financial Officer.

Mr Stockdale is a financial and commercial executive with extensive mining
industry experience including project and corporate debt and equity financing,
concentrates marketing and logistics, treasury operations and mergers and
acquisitions. Mr Stockdale joins Unity from the privately-held Tigers Realm Group
(TRG), where he held the role of General Manager – Finance. Prior to joining
TRG, Mr Stockdale was Commercial Manager and acting CFO of Citadel Resource
Group. Over the past 15 years Mr Stockdale has also held a number of executive
roles at mining companies including MPI Mines Limited and Oxiana Limited (now
OZ Minerals Limited).

Mr Stockdale replaces Mr Bill Geier, who, having successfully managed the
financial integration of the Cortona entities and advanced the project financing of
the Dargues Gold Mine, has left the company to pursue other opportunities.
The Board and Management would like to thank Mr Geier for his significant
contribution and commitment to Unity over the past two years, and congratulates
Mr Stockdale on his appointment.


14/11 - Cyanide processing near Braidwood 'terrifying' for local shires

The potential use of cyanide at a goldmine east of Canberra by an operator fined for polluting river catchments on three occasions last year has been labelled "terrifying" by a local councillor, citing strong community opposition.  


Unity Mining's Dargues Reef box cut entrance near Majors Creek.

Earlier this week, Unity Mining suggested building a plant for cyanide processing at the Majors Creek gold mine, just south of Braidwood, despite initially intending to transport materials for processing in Parkes some 380km to the north.

"There is a ground swell of opposition growing and people around here are just horrified that this would be mooted out of the blue like that," said Braidwood resident and Palerang councillor Paul Cockram.

"I mean, they came here and stood in front of this community and said they were going to build a mine but 'don't worry we're not going to do any of the really nasty processing part - we're going to send that somewhere else to get it done," he said.

Mr Cockram said the Braidwood community was still waiting for more detail on the processing plant but said there would be "considerable community opposition to Unity Mining just out of the blue changing the rules completely".  

"The whole game has changed as it's going to be a totally different mine - it will be a noisier mine, bigger and more dangerous."

But Unity Mining's managing director Andrew McIlwain has said concerns about the use of cyanide at the mine were unnecessary as the potentially toxic substance could be used safely if handled correctly.

"The Dick Dastardly bit about cyanide comes from spy movies and hangover from the Second World War," he said. "It's potentially toxic but handled and managed in the right scenario, it is very safe."

Unity Mining's announcement has already alarmed downstream food producers and Eurobodalla Shire, which wants to keep its water catchment for 140,000 people in summer in pristine condition.

"It's terrifying for people in Eurobodalla Shire and Araluen Valley - which sits at the head of Eurobodalla's water supply - so this has far reaching consequences not just for Palerang but for other shires on the coast," said Mr Cockram.

"When you've got a mine that's sitting atop  a valley that grows fruit and has an economy based on growing things, if you have a dam breach it only has to happen once and then down the valley it goes."

Araluen Valley Protection and Producers Coalition president Penny Hayman said within two weeks of mine construction, Unity had polluted Spring and Majors creeks.

The Land and Environment Court ordered Unity to pay $196,000 in penalties and costs, including to the Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group.

Unity Mining's managing director, Andrew McIlwain admitted the pollution during earthworks on the mine was not Unity's finest hour.

"We have taken our 40 lashes and paid our fines. It is not something we are very proud of, but circumstances were quite different," he said.

Mr Cockram said communities in Parkes had objected to processing ore transferred from other parts of NSW – including Majors Creek – and may have forced Unity Mining's hand.

"In Parkes they had some action to stop them processing it and suddenly it gets bounced back to us now," he said.

"I think that we need to be as resolute and say 'I'm sorry but if you're going to have cyanide processing then you'll have to process it somewhere you are guaranteed not to have a spill."

Palerang mayor Pete Harrison said the cyanide proposal worried the community because Unity had previously ruled this out.

"My professional background is as a chemist. I understand why people react to it. I am not as concerned as some people might be about the whole thing," Mr Harrison said.

"Where the facility exists there's a risk and where the facility doesn't exist there isn't; it is as simple as that."

Mr McIlwain said previous plans involved 2200 trucks carrying ore from Braidwood to Parkes each year, while now six trucks would carry cyanide in briquettes contained in cylinders.  

"Before the solution leaves the processing facility, it is chemically destroyed and brought down to quite safe levels and discharged to a tailings facility," he said.  

"It breaks down under ultra-violet light. It breaks down over time and it doesn't bio-accumulate. It is not like a heavy metal in the food stream."

Henry Belot


14/11 - Dargues Gold Mine - Modification 3 Community Presentation

We would like to thank those who attended the community meeting in Majors Creek Hall on 11 November 2014. Your input was greatly appreciated and we look forward to continuing to engage with you and the broader community on this important modification to the Dargues Gold Project. As committed, a copy of the presentation from this meeting is now available on our website under the Modification 3 heading, which can be found here.

Over the coming weeks Unity will be undertaking further consultation with the communities of the Palerang and Eurobodalla Shires. Further details will be advertised in local papers and provided by email. Enquiries regarding the modification can be made by contacting the Dargues Information Line on 1800 732 002 ordarguesinfoline@unitymining.com.au.


See here for more info..



14/11 - Outrage at Cyanide proposal for Majors Creek gold mine

The proposed Dargues Gold Mine near Braidwood has ignited another controversy over a new proposal to use cyanide on site to process the extracted ore.

The company's first development approval was reviewed by the Land and Environment Court and amended in 2002 following objections from the Eurobodalla Shire Council, The Coastwatchers Association and the South East Region Conservation Alliance.

Now the company, Unity Mining, an entity that merged with the initial developer, Cortona, is preparing to initiate its own further amendment.

The current approval requires off site processing of the ore at a proposed facility at Parkes.

However the company is citing a range of economics, facilities availability in Parkes, and the impact of truck transport on local Braidwood and district roads as reasons to do the processing on the mining site at Majors Creek.

A cyanide extraction process is used to extract gold, and silver, from low grade ore.

As cyanide is highly poisonous its use is highly controversial and banned in many instances.

The mine is located at the headwaters of the Deua River which provides 60 percent of the water supply to the coastal shire of Eurobodalla.

The Environment Protection Authority has previously investigated complaints of discharged sediment from the mine and has been fined $196,000 in penalties and costs for pollution incidents in the Majors and Spring creeks.

Local resident and author Jackie French told ABC South East NSW she was concerned that the company "are now putting in to do a major smelter using cyanide."

She is particularly concerned by the threat of the process leading to lead pollution and the extreme and long lasting environmental damage and affects on human health caused by lead.

"Just for money, only for money, and actually not all that much money, and not that many jobs," she said.

Unity Mining's Managing Director, Andrew McIlwain, responded that, "There is no intention of smelting lead. There is no lead involved."

He said the company assured there was no risk from using cyanide processing on the site.

"People in mining operations aren't affected by cyanide. It's very well managed."

He says, "More recently there's a process been introduced that destroys the cyanide before it's released to the tailings facilities.'

He said that if their amendment submission is not successful then the company already has the approval to commence operations based on processing off site.


Bill Brown



To  a wombat, most human activity is crazy. Some however is crazier than most.

In February 2013, Unity Mining began work next to the NSW village of Majors Creek on their Dargues Reef Gold Mine project. Twelve days later, after heavy but normal rainfall for the area, athick sludge of mud slid down into Majors Creek.

Majors Creek feeds into the water system for the orchards and market gardens of the Araluen Valley, through Conservation Reserves with more than 23 endangered, vulnerable or critically endangered species, and then into the drinking water of nearly 70% of the residents of Eurobodalla Shire on the far south coast of NSW. 

Over the next six months there were five breaches of environmental conditions. The company was prosecuted in the NSW Land and Environment Court for three of them, with fines and costs imposed that come to nearly $200,000. At this stage the company had actually not yet begun to mine – part of the initial workings collapsed after another normal rainfall event, and the mine subsequently went into a “care and maintenance” phase as the price of gold fell.

The mine had been approved subject to stringent conditions, many of which had been gained by appeals by local community groups to the NSW Land and Environment Court. But it appears that even Court conditions can be overruled by the NSW Department of Planning – and many were.

The company now only has to “generally” comply with the approval conditions (rather than follow them to the letter).

But the critical key to the mine’s original approval was that the company stated there would be no cyanide processing on site and that the ore, containing lead and other heavy metals as well as gold, would be removed, leaving an inert tailings dam.  This promise to the community, the Court and the Palerang and Eurobodalla Shire Councils was repeated right up to September this year when, at the Community Consultative Committee meeting, we were assured that gold processing at Majors Creek was not, and never would be, on the table.

Two months later the company announced that it plans to seek permission to process gold at its Majors Creek site in a refinement process that uses cyanide. Instead of mostly silica, the tailings will contain cyanide residues, as well as lead and other heavy metals.

Mission creep is a common danger with mining applications. A company submits an initial proposal for approval and, once that approval has been granted (often hedged about with stern conditions) and the operations begin on the proposed mine, the company applies for a ‘variation’ to that original approval. Several years down the track the actual on-ground situation bears little resemblance to the initial proposal. As more and more people and money are involved it becomes difficult to rein in the operation, even when the company is far from the project originally approved.

A single accident with cyanide or lead contaminated tailings on the steep escarpment at Majors Creek could create disaster, not just for the village nearby, but for the entire water system from the Araluen valley to the South Coast. The company claims it will provide a hundred jobs, but the community is worried about the many more jobs that are at risk, some already lost due to the uncertainty of what may happen.

Cyanide can have a catastrophic impact on the environment. Lead dust is more insidious. A series of small accidents over five or ten years could mean a toxic build up over tens of kilometres, almost impossible to remove.

I live four kilometres downstream from the proposed mine, cyanide works and smelter.

We lived with the mud and residues in the creek during the 2013 breaches, repeatedly emptying and cleaning out our water system, junking a pump destroyed by grit, hearing only silence where once there had been the call of many frog species, trying not to weep at pools empty of the fish that used to swim there.

Although not all signs of the sediment have gone, much of the creek has recovered. Any accidental residues from cyanide, lead, zinc, arsenic and cadmium once mining and processing are underway would be more deadly and far longer lasting.

 This valley is the centre of my life, my work, my heart and my community.

  Peach harvest at Wisbey’s orchard in Araluen near Braidwood, January 2013. Photo: Andrew Meares

These holidays my grandson will play in the creek; the wombats will drink, the green and gold bell frogs will croak from the damp gullies, the mother quolls guide their young across the sheltered steep cliffs of the Majors Creek State Conservation Area. We will eat Araluen peaches and watch the eagles float up on the thermals above the valley.

One spill, one accident, has the potential to destroy it all.

If you were to choose the most inappropriate place for a cyanide–using processing plant, it would be on a hill above a village; on the edge of a steep escarpment where pollution after a rainstorm can reach the first downstream household in minutes, the first orchard in half an hour. A place where over 100,000 people living downstream depend on an unpolluted water system – and all for 100 jobs, which may be a most optimistic estimate, in an area that already has a shortage of workers.

Accidents happen. In February 2007, a road train carrying three twenty-tonne containers of solid sodium
cyanide in the Northern Territory tipped over, spilling pellets onto the side of the road
and into a non-flowing watercourse. Most of the contamination was cleaned up before it contaminated a wider area. But on the steep escarpment of Majors Creek, water, wind and dust can carry contamination far and fast.

This will be a lush Christmas for the wombats. But the drilling planned upstream is not a wombat hole. It is a threat to lives and livelihoods.

And, of course, to wombats.


16/03 - War over water: Araluen opposes mine


In the beautiful Araluen Valley, south-east of Braidwood, peach producer Wisbey's orchards is fighting for water security.

Orchardist Robyn Clubb, whose property is 8km downstream of ''Australia's next major gold mine'', is confident the NSW Government will order an independent assessment of the proposed mine.

She has 22,000 trees and relies on an aquifer to grow fruit for Sydney, Queensland and export markets.

The district's farmers, who also produce cattle, fat lambs, lucerne and silage, are opposing Cortona Resources, which wants to restart mining at nearby Majors Creek.

Cortona's application is with NSW Planning and will not be assessed until after the NSW election on March 26.

Mrs Clubb bought the district's biggest orchard from the Wisbey family six years ago and turns over $1million a year, employing up to 50 people in peak times.

She said the water table had refilled to where it should be, producing the best season she's had since buying the 480ha property.

She said Araluen landholders had only six weeks to respond to Cortona's development application, which was supported by technical information which they believed did not cover key issues.

Cortona's managing director, Peter van der Borgh, said 74 submissions were received from private individuals, specialists and interest groups for and against the proposal, which suggested there was appropriate time available. Many submissions also came from a single source.

Mrs Clubb said it was inconceivable of the miner to say no leaking would come from the tailings dam.

''I find it illogical. Majors Creek flows through my farm and joins with Araluen Creek which also flows through my farm.

''It's inconceivable that they are accessing water from Majors Creek, how can that not have an impact? They say 85per cent of the water will be recycled. What goes back into the creek?

''[The dispute] is more about the lack of work that's been done, beyond about a 2km radius of the mine,'' Mrs Clubb said.

Landholders wanted to choose an expert consultant who had not been paid by Cortona.

Mr van der Borgh said this was unwarranted. ''The groundwater modelling was peer reviewed by industry leaders and the NSW Office of Water has indicated to the Department of Planning it supports the groundwater and surface water assessments.''

The mine was designed to be self-contained, with no interaction with local water supplies.

He said the tailings storage dam wall would be designed, constructed and monitored to NSW Dams Safety Committee specifications, with safeguards to prevent rainfall run-off from entering it and causing it to overflow. The tailings storage facility will be created with an impermeable liner.

''Cortona will not be accessing water from Majors Creek. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Cortona will be maintaining flows in Majors Creek by the controlled release of clean water collected and stored in dams that will have no opportunity to interact with process water.''


16/07 - Mine works to stop spills into streams

Earthworks at the entrance of the box cut mine near Majors Creek.

Earthworks at the entrance of the box cut mine near Majors Creek.

Unity Mining says its box cut mine near Majors Creek is now deep enough to hold excess water from sediment ponds, to avoid spills of dirty water into nearby creeks.

Since February heavy rain has hampered the start of construction on the underground mine, and dirty discharges into Majors Creek have sparked complaints downstream.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority's investigations are continuing.

Excavators have dug out a v-shaped entrance to the box cut mine and two blasts have taken place, including one that shifted 33,000 tonnes of rock.

A spokesman for Unity Mining said over the life of the mine the box cut excavation would act like a sump taking excess water. More drilling and blasting would take place in coming weeks.

Meanwhile Hilton Bourke, a retired cattle farmer and former fruit and vegetable grower who lives downstream at Araluen, said Unity Mining was a good corporate citizen, providing jobs for people across the district.

Mr Bourke said recent reporting of dirty discharges was not balanced and could be premature because EPA investigations were ongoing.

''Those who have complained the loudest about sediment control are the same people who campaigned vigorously against the mine, causing a delay of many months,'' Mr Bourke said. ''Each time it rains, creeks get discoloured all the time.''

He said feeder creeks including Majors, Bell's, Sheep Station, Dirty Butter, Apple and Deep Creeks flowed into Araluen Creek, which flowed into the Deua River.

Mr Bourke, 78, said his cousin's son worked for the mine. But he was speaking on his own behalf.

He said most fair-minded Araluen residents believed Unity Mining and its predecessor, Cortona Resources, had done a reasonable job in the face of extreme weather, when over 150 millimetres of rain fell within 18 hours, to avoid erosion.

''I've had a creek running at our place, the old gold mining place they called Burketown. It hadn't run for about 40 years, and it is still running now.''

Araluen Progress Association president Jamie Reynolds said the mine had divided the community.

Mr Reynolds said four valleys ran parallel with Araluen, and those closest to Majors Creek who fattened cattle or grew fruit were most opposed to the mine.

Although he lived in the Neringla valley he believed the mine was a threat. ''I'd be worried if I lived in the valley. This pollution is coming from the new road they are building. It's sediment. I don't think there are any chemicals in it.''

In a company newsletter Unity managing director Andrew McIllwain said heavy rain in late June had delayed work on the main access road, which should be finished in August. ''Also, to mitigate runoff from site much of the water from site
sediment ponds was pumped into the box cut to prevent excavation of the recently blasted rock,'' Mr McIllwain said.


16/07 - Paste Fill Approval & New Drilling Program at Dargues Reef

Australian gold company Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC) is
pleased to advise that it has received approval from the NSW
Department of Planning and Infrastructure for the use of paste fill at
its 100%-owned Dargues Reef Gold Mine in NSW. Paste fill is
expected to deliver a range of financial, safety and environmental

benefits to the project.

The approval means that the Dargues Reef site is now fully
permitted to commence development. Determination of the
application to modify the operating license at the  London Victoria

processing site is expected within weeks.

The Company has also commenced a new phase of exploration
drilling (see Figure 1) targeting several newly identified near-mine

and regional prospects.

A dual-purpose RC/Diamond Rig has commenced drilling at the
Redbank and Nightingale Prospects, which are located just 800m
from the proposed location of the ROM pad and box-cut at Dargues

Reef (see Figure 2).

The Redbank prospect comprises mineralized outcrops, substantial
gold-in-soils and a number of historic shafts. The  style of
mineralisation is similar to that at Dargues Reef (JORC Resource

1.6Mt @ 6.3g/t Au for 327,000oz).

See attached for further details


16/09 - Gold dig a long-term prospect for local jobs

Major contractor, Andy Divall, in the box cut at the mine, where they will soon begin tunnelling  Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/gold-dig-a-longterm-prospect-for-local-jobs-20130915-2tt9m.html#ixzz2f1RJeRao

Major contractor, Andy Divall, in the box cut at the mine, where they will soon begin tunnelling

A small fortune is being spent at Majors Creek east of Canberra trying to find the primary source of gold that has sparked exploration since the 1850s.

Unity Mining's longer-term aspirations of Dargues Gold Mine near the village extends beyond the mine's current five-year time frame and is evident in preparatory work including access roads leading to the new underground mine.

Unity Mining general manager, markets and strategy, Ben Hill, said exploratory drilling would continue across a large area known as the Braidwood granidorite.
General manager of the mine, Scott Jones, in the box cut at the mine. Photo  Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/gold-dig-a-longterm-prospect-for-local-jobs-20130915-2tt9m.html#ixzz2f1RXomdE

General manager of the mine, Scott Jones, in the box cut at the mine. Photo

A 35-metre deep excavation has been carved through a slope of oxidised granite, creating what will be the box cut entrance of the underground mine.

Tunnelling is expected to begin in about six weeks. Shaped like a tight corkscrew, the tunnel will descend at a grade of one-in-seven metres to an initial depth of 500 metres.

At that grade, they will tunnel for 3½ kilometres to get down 500 metres.

''The drilling Cortona (former mine owner) had done to build the resource only went down to what's outlined here,'' Mr Hill said, pointing to a three-dimensional diagram of the mine's vertical descent.

''There's almost no drilling behind these zones, so they are key targets in our mid-term exploration plans, to add further resources to what is already here and where we already plan to build the mine.''

General manager Scott Jones said blocks of ore would be drilled and blasted, with sections then being taken out and trucked to the surface.

Those sections would be backfilled later with a paste fill, comprising waste rock and concrete, to stabilise the mine.
They expect to extract 5.5 grams of gold per tonne of rock and earth. In the initial five years the mine is expected to produce 50,000 gold ounces.

''There are other lodes which we know the old timers have mined. They have mined underground, they were closer to Majors Creek.''

Unity has paid Palerang Shire Council $600,000 for upgrading the Braidwood-Majors Creek road and awarded a $6.6 million tender to Goulburn earth-moving contractors Divalls to build a 3.5 kilometre access road, bitumen sealed on the steep pinches, and other works.

Divalls, which also builds roads for wind farms, will put down a hard surface for workshops, offices, a run-of-mine pad, ore stock pile, crusher plant and milling and tailings dam.

Principal Andy Divall said his work force had expanded to 23 people, including eight from Braidwood.
''This is our biggest contract so far. It gives us security for the next 12 months,'' Mr Divall said. Divalls will also haul ore off site for final processing.

Mr Hill said Unity Mining, which also operates in Tasmania, liked to be close to a residential community, rather than run a fibro, fly-in-fly-out project.

''Our people can live in the community, play in the footy team. It is attractive for recruiting.''

Among applicants for the 120 jobs on offer are many from Western Australia, from miners who had earlier left eastern Australia.

Staff will include metallurgists, geologists, field workers, environmental monitors and labourers.

Unity is deepening a sediment pond on the site which received 279 millimetres of rain over four days in June. It is addressing concerns from the Environmental Protection Authority on a flocculant used to settle dirty water after the rain.


16/12 - Plan for contaminated Bendigo groundwater to be pumped to Woodvale evaporation ponds

It appears progress is being made as authorities discuss how to deal with the contaminated groundwater rising under Bendigo.

The dirty and smelly groundwater is a legacy of Bendigo's gold mining past.

Unity Mining's decision in 2011 to cease gold production means authorities have to work out how the groundwater will be managed.

In a report to their meeting tomorrow night, Bendigo councillors are told the Victorian Government has reached a deal with Unity to have the water pumped to evaporation ponds at Woodvale, north of Bendigo.

The new Labor Government would still need to sign off on the deal.

Council staff said this plan would help control dust at the site in the short-term but that Woodvale residents want the ponds to eventually be closed and rehabilitated.

Councillors will vote on whether to endorse the proposal.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries said existing approvals were in place for Unity Mining to pump groundwater to the Woodvale evaporation ponds.

Woodvale residents will meet tonight to discuss the latest developments.



17/04 - ASX Release - Quarterly Report March 2013

PDF icon ASX_17APR13.pdf2.28 MB

Key Points


  • Earthworks commenced at Dargues Gold Mine
  • ~10% capital savings identified to date, further savings expected
  • Key personnel recruited
  • $24.5M cash in bank, plus $9.1M of gold bullion available for sale

See attached for more information

17/06 - Resignation of Director

The Board of Directors of Unity Mining Limited announces that after nearly seven
years’ of service, Mr David Ransom has advised of his decision to resign from the
Board effective 30 June 2014.

Unity Mining Chairman Clive Jones said “The Board recognises that in the current
economic environment there is an imperative to lessen overhead costs and the
recent reduction in director fees is complimented by this reduction in Board

“David has been a significant contributor to the Unity Board and always provided
valuable insight both in relation to markets and technical aspects of the business. I
would like thank David for his perspicuity and valuable contribution to the Board
and its committees. The Directors and I wish him all the very best for the future,”
said Mr Jones.

17/07 - Majors Creek mine ready to roll

Majors Creek mine ready to roll

John Thistleton 
Published: July 17, 2012 - 7:21AM

Cortona Resources says it has all approvals needed to start work on an underground gold mine at Majors Creek, east of Braidwood, and is widening it search, talking up the region as a significant gold-producing area.

Cortona has approval for paste-fill at Dargues Reef - mixing tailings with a binder such as cement and storing it below ground in previously worked voids.

The Perth-based company said paste-fill would deliver financial, safety and environmental benefits to the project.

Earlier this year Cortona said it had secured $42 million from Deutsche Bank to begin developing the underground mine, which the company expects will generate cash flow of $125 million over an initial six-year life.

Cortona is applying to modify an operating license at the London Victoria processing site at Parkes where it will truck ore from Majors Creek.

The site is used for crushing and grinding limestone products, while the gold leaching and recovery part of the plant is unused.

Cortona did not return calls yesterday by The Canberra Times. In the statement managing director Peter van der Borgh said re-starting exploration drilling signalled an exciting new phase of activity on the site.

''While our main focus is obviously on continuing to move Dargues as rapidly as possible to development, we have also been doing a lot of very effective work on the exploration front as well,'' he said.

''This has resulted in some exciting new discoveries which will be drill tested now for the first time.

''Of particular note are the two new areas at Nightingale and Redbank, which are both in close proximity [about 800 metres] to the proposed infrastructure at Dargues Reef.

This story was found at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/majors-creek-mine-ready-to-roll...

17/11 - The Risks of CYANIDE in Braidwood

The risks of CYANIDE in Braidwood

17/12 - Gold miner Unity Mining fined $1500 for EPA breach

Unity Mining, the operator of the Dargues Gold Mine near Braidwood, has been fined $1500 for breaching a licence condition over the use of a chemical flocculent to treat stormwater in July this year.

Environment Protection Authority director Gary Whytcross said the company breached its licence to operate in a proper and efficient manner when it used a chemical that had the potential to cause harm, and failed to put in place proper procedures to ensure the environment was protected.

Mr Whytcross said the company failed to adhere to the conditions of its environment protection licences.

"While we do not think that any serious environmental harm was caused in this instance, it was more through good luck than good management that this was the outcome," he said.


17/8 - Agreement to Process Dargues Reef Gold Concentrate

ASX/Media Release - 17th August 2011
Agreement to Process Dargues Reef Gold Concentrate

Cortona to retain full control to maximise efficiency and recovery benefits.


  • Cortona has secured a processing plant for the Dargues Reef gold concentrate
  • License Agreement covers current mine reserve with option to extend
  • Facility located near Parkes, NSW, with a shorter transport distance than budgeted by Cortona in its Feasibility Study
  • Processing circuit being optimized for high recoveries

Click on the following link to read more..


18/04 - Dargues mine to survive gold rout

Dargues Road at the Cortona mine site at Majors Creek. Photo: Alex Rea

Turbulence in world gold prices is unlikely to have any major impact on the Dargues Gold Mine project in the historic village of Majors Creek, developers say.

Located near Braidwood, to the south-east of Canberra, the mine's development has already involved the moving of more than 88,000 cubic metres of earth.

On Wednesday, gold prices continued to recover from their biggest drop in more than 30 years, reaching $US1378.80 an ounce.

Experts say this week's 14 per cent drop in the commodity's value meant a $15 billion reduction in the value of Australian goldmining businesses, raising questions about the sustainability of some mines.

Usually considered a haven for investors around the world, the gold price has bucked trends as sharemarkets also fell.

Unity Mining managing director Andrew McIlwain used an investor update on Wednesday to outline company assets of $24.5 million in cash and $9.1 million of gold bullion available for sale, after the company merged with previous developer Cortona.

Mr McIlwain said Unity planned to bring to the site major equipment from a idle mine at Kangaroo Flat near Bendigo, which meant a 10 per cent reduction in total equipment costs at the site.

''Whilst final costings are being finalised, the company has gained sufficient confidence that the use of the Bendigo plant will deliver meaningful capital and time savings,'' he said.

''An additional $3 million in savings over the life of the project relate to synergies realised through the merger such as reduced corporate costs.''

The $90 million project at Majors Creek faced difficulty in February after heavy rain caused a sediment basin to overflow into nearby creeks.

In the statement, Mr McIlwain said he expected further improvements in project capital costs and development timelines to be announced in coming weeks.

The area is the largest historic goldfield in NSW, producing more than 1.25 million ounces.

Canberra financial adviser and media commentator Daryl Dickson said gold, along with iron ore and coal prices, had a big influence on terms of trade.

''Certainly gold has been a lot more volatile this week than in the past,'' he said.

''A lot of traders will have made a hell of a lot of money from short-selling and the volatility has upset some of the markets.''

He said the impact on the wider Australian economy was hard to predict while other nations continued to print money, but he said the price of the Australian dollar could be affected.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/dargues-mine-to-survive-gold-rout-20130417-2i0x7.html

18/06 - Unity Mining allowed to use Bendigo plant to process ore

Government regulators have advised a mining company it does have permission to use its Bendigo plant to process ore it hopes to mine near Canberra.

Residents have been calling for Unity Mining to rehabilitate its land in Bendigo and were unhappy when last year the company flagged plans to reopen its Kangaroo Flat plant.

Unity said it was considering trucking materials it hopes to mine near Canberra to be processed in Bendigo.

Regulators have now indicated the plans can proceed under the company's existing approvals.

The Victorian Government's mines and planning departments say the site is covered by the state's mining legislation and Unity's own work plan, which provides strong environmental protections.

Both the company and the Bendigo council have been notified.


19/11 - LETTER: Protecting our environment (Yass tribune)

Dear Editor,

Beloved and fragile Major's Creek between Goulburn and the South Coast has endured the impacts of logging, mining, hard hooves and more. Yet it still nurtures wildlife, forest, fresh water and a picturesque village. Some call it Shangri-La, a secret paradise. Jackie French wrote all her wombat books there. All that is at risk.

The messy Dargues Reef Project went to great lengths to market minerals projects to the area.

On the back of this work, Unity Mining seeks to build an ore smelter at Major’s creek, processing ore by cyanide leaching, and leaving the heavy metal residue, which includes lead, in tailings dams. The development would be large enough to process ore from other mines. The traffic load this entails is itself damaging to the environment, local roads and increases the existing danger for road users.

The community impacts of smelters are well known.

The previous approval was for a tailings dam with inert contents. The gold at Dargues is found in association with lead, as well as small amounts of other heavy metal contaminants, including uranium. Unity proposes they be processed here: directly above the catchment area for the Araluen Valley and Eurobodalla's water system. It only needs one spill to cause devastation.

Smelting residue contains lead dust which, when inhaled, affects human intelligence. Related lead and heavy metal pollution would persist for generations. Insurance companies have built their life and health insurance cost benefit calculations around lead dust levels for decades. Professor Stephen Leeder points to the health impacts on generations of residents and workers in Beijing, LA, Western Sydney, Lithgow.

Dargues committed five environmental breaches in the six months it operated. No environmental procedure assurances from a company intent on saving itself cost seems worth the paper it is written on. The Unity project is likely to be worse, not better.

Major's Creek relies on its natural heritage to thrive. It has tourism value that is being extinguished for a handful of short-term local jobs, for out of town company profits and state mining taxes. We need to value what we still have and our future, not just vandalistic fast-buck "enterprise".

Local wildlife, clean water, the health of children, the remaining integrity of our land is at risk. Just say "No!".

Jane Salmon

Killara, NSW

19/11 - Opposition mounts to Cyanide use at Dargues

Since Unity Mining announced last week that it proposes to use Cyanide to process gold on site at the Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek, concern in the community has been mounting.

A Sodium Cyanide container left at Captains Flat Mine which closed in 1962. (Photo: Peter Marshall August 2014)

The public meeting in Majors Creek last Tuesday night was attended by about 40 people, however many commented that it would have been overflowing if the actual proposal had been known earlier. 

The main concerns brought up at the meeting took issue were the key agreements from the current approvals including the length of the project, processing and the use of cyanide. 

Many speakers voiced their lack of trust in the company after being promised repeatedly that no processing would be done on site; one resident calling it 'development by stealth.' This week film emerged on YouTube, taken by Paul Cockram in 2013, of CEO Andrew McIllwain assuring the community that cyanide processing would never be used at Majors Creek.

Further key concerns were voiced at the meeting about any further guarantees that once a processing facility was approved, that no ore from other sites would then be brought to the site for processing. 

Mr McIllwain was in Braidwood on Monday and "said that the tailings facility did not have the capacity to cope with more tailings than those forecast from the Dargues Mine."

However, Unity Mining promotional presentations trumpet "Excellent near mine & regional exploration upside" at Dargues, and while there are a multitude of exploration site across southern NSW, there are no processing plants approved elsewhere. 

Subsequently a new action group has formed to co-ordinate opposition to the proposal. 

Palerang Mayor Pete Harrison said "Many residents, especially those dependent on water downstream of the site, feel betrayed. After conceding that the mine would go ahead and that there'd be minimal on-site processing, to now hear that the operator is proposing to process all ore on-site has them quite upset. The simple fact is that, no matter how safe the processing might be, it comes with an element of risk—no processing, no associated risk. That there might be reduced truck movements to and from the site as a result is cold comfort to these people."

The company plans to get the modifications to the Environmental Assessment (EA), the principle planning document, submitted before Christmas which may leave the public consultation period to be over the holiday period when many people are distracted. 

Unity Mining says that it intends to hold public drop-in consultations in Braidwood and on the south coast. 

Correction: In last week’s Braidwood Times article “Mine Modification to include processing” it was incorrectly stated that Palerang Council would need to be part of the approvals process. In fact, as the mine development is ‘State Significant’ any modification will go through the NSW Department of Planning. 

By Alex Rea

20/01 - Govt pans gold mine's green credentials

Three NSW Government agencies have criticised the environmental assessment for a $240 million gold mine at Majors Creek near Braidwood, saying it is ''inadequate'', ignores climate change and contains ''little or nothing'' on managing toxic spills.

But Perth-based company Cortona Resources remains confident its plans to establish ''Australia's next major new gold mine'' will go ahead, and recently told prospective investors the mining lease ''is expected to be approved in line with the approval of the environmental assessment''.

The NSW Office of Water has told the state's Planning Department it cannot support the Majors Creek proposal ''due to inadequate information'' on the mine's impacts on groundwater, run-off and flow levels in local creeks and streams.

The NSW Environment Department has raised concerns about noise, salinity, management of toxic chemicals, risks to local water quality and impact of ''noise, light and vibration'' on native wildlife in a nearby conservation area. It has also criticised the environmental assessment's biodiversity strategy as ''vague'' and lacking detail, and said the document did not discuss how the company ''will deal with the inevitable spills [and] leaks ... that will occur in the area or areas where the ore will be processed''.

A third agency, the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, said the document failed to address the impacts of climate change.

The proposal for the Dargues Reef gold mine at Majors Creek is currently being assessed for approval by NSW Planning. It has also been referred to the federal Environment Department for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The NSW Planning Department has received more than 1000 public submissions relating to the mine, the majority objecting to the proposal.

One of Australia's most popular science fiction writers and children's authors, Isobelle Carmody, has filed an objection, describing the mine as ''environmental cannibalism''.

Local author Jackie French, who lives 5km downstream from the proposed development, has also filed an objection, raising concerns about leakage of chemical and alkaline water from the tailings dam.

For more on this story, including details of the NSW Office of Water's submission, see the print edition of today's Canberra Times.


20/03 - LionGold commits to increased stake in Unity

Unity Mining Limited (ASX:UML) (Unity or the Company) is pleased to advise
that LionGold Corp Ltd (LionGold) has entered into a binding subscription
agreement to acquire additional shares in Unity by way of a share placement to
increase its stake in Unity to 19.9%.

As announced on 17 February 2014, Unity’s major shareholder, LionGold, had
committed to sub-underwrite Unity’s Share Purchase Plan (SPP) in line with its
then current holding of 13.2%. In addition, Unity agreed to allow LionGold an
opportunity to increase its interest in the Company up to a maximum of 19.9%
via a subsequent placement.

Under the terms of the subscription agreement, LionGold will now acquire an
additional 87.8 million shares via this placement to increase its holding in Unity to
19.9%. The pricing of the shares offered under the placement is the same price
as set for shares offered under the SPP at 2.7 cents per share, for a total
consideration of $2.37 million.

Commenting on the further financial commitment from LionGold, Unity’s
Managing Director Andrew McIlwain said “We welcome this further commitment
from LionGold, which builds on its recent agreement to escrow for 12 months its
current 92.3 million shares in Unity. LionGold has continued to demonstrate its
confidence in Unity and is distinguishing itself as a partner of choice in the
Australian junior gold space.”


20/06 - Unity Mining still considering ore processing options

A mining company says it is still weighing up its options about where to process materials from a proposed mine in New South Wales, despite receiving regulatory approval to do it in Bendigo.

Government authorities have given Unity Mining the green light to use its Kangaroo Flat plant to process ore it hopes to mine at Dargues, near Canberra.

Gold production at Kangaroo Flat ceased in 2011, while development at Dargues has been on hold since last year.

Unity's managing director, Andrew McIlwain, says receiving permission in Victoria was just one hurdle of many for the project.

"So that's our base case. Obviously there's a 740 kilometres haulage route to do that," he said.

"If we can find a facility that's as efficient and as effective that's closer to Dargues, then that's a great outcome for us but we don't have access to that at the moment, what we do have access to is the facility at Bendigo."


20/10 - Political Donations Information

Please find attached the Political donations disclosure statement as discussed at the recent public meeting. Also attached is the Disclosure of political donations and gifts Guideline

During the 30-day exhibition period any person can comment on the proposed
project. Comment is usually by way of written submission. In some cases a public
hearing may be held.

Submission writing
As this is the primary method through which the community can participate in
environmental decision-making it is important to write submissions that will clearly and
effectively communicate your points. This section provides tips on how you can prepare a
submission that is as persuasive as possible.

Obtaining information
The ´¼ürst step is to gather information about the proposal and the locality. An important
piece of information will be the proposal itself, along with the Director-GeneralÔÇÖs
Environmental Assessment Requirements and the Environmental Assessment prepared
by the proponent. You may also need to gather independent scienti´¼üc information that tells you what impact the proposal will have on the environment, the economy and social
cohesion. You should also ´¼ünd out who the decision-maker is going to be ÔÇô the Planning
Minister or a PAC.

Identifying of key issues
Work out what your key concerns are and focus on these. If you try to include everything you can possibly think of in the submission the good points will get lost in the weaker points and your submission will be less effective.

Supporting with facts
Include factual information to back up your arguments. Your arguments will be better
received if they are supported by evidence and you will have a far greater chance of
in´¼éuencing the decision-maker than if you lodge a submission containing only
unsubstantiated claims.

Also, attach relevant supporting documents, physical evidence and observations and
opinions from scientists to support what youÔÇÖre saying.

Using a clear structure and layout
Use headings and bullet points to highlight key concerns. Use summaries to highlight key
Remember the decision-maker may receive many submissions so you want yours to be easy to read and well expressed.

Write clearly and concisely. A rambling stream of consciousness will not effectively
communicate your ideas.

Writing objectively
Use clear, calm language and maintain a professional style. Overly emotional
arguments are not as convincing and often have an adverse effect upon the reader.

Have your submission in on time. If you canÔÇÖt meet the deadline ask for an extension, or if an extension is not granted, do the best you can in the time frame.
Follow up on your submission ÔÇô follow up phone calls to the decision maker can ensure
that your issues are on the forefront of their minds at all times.

Include your name and contact details on your submission.
It may be worth considering mounting a wider campaign against the proposal,
including through the local media.

taken from The EDO Major Projects Toolkit.


21/11 - Open letter to John Barilaro

Dear John Barilaro:

In February 2013, Unity Mining's Andrew McIlwain reassured a public meeting in the Majors Creek hall that there would be no cyanide used at the Dargues Reef mine operation.

Suddenly we learn that a variation of the licence conditions is being sought to do exactly that.

What's more it's expected to get a tick during the silly season and before the March election.

I think it's really important for you and your government's credibility in Braidwood, Majors Creek and surrounds to ensure that the residents have a proper chance to digest and comment on this spectacular change of plan.

The Araluen Valley residents all the way to Eurobodalla will probably have a lot to say too.

Can you reassure us that the Planning Assessment Commission will give the public all the time needed to properly suggest options and not to rush into such a far-reaching and potentially dangerous decision?

It'll certainly be on their minds in March if cyanide has been added to the mix.

Paul Cockram





21/11 - Radically increased threat to environment

As a frequent visitor to Palerang Shire and ratepayer in Eurobodalla Shire I was appalled to read the news that Unity Mining is now seeking approval for a processing plant involving the use of cyanide at its gold mine at Majors Creek. 

Approval was originally given for a mine where processing would be undertaken off site and 

where the contents of the on site tailings dam would have been inert. 

This new proposal totally reverses this situation and radically increases the threat to the local and down stream environments. Additionally, my understanding is that the present proposal is for a cyanide processing plant that would be large enough to enable processing of ore from other mines thereby increasing the processing dangers.

Another threat from on site processing comes from lead and small amounts of other heavy metal contaminants that may be found in association with the gold to be mined. Under the currently approved plan they would be taken away with the ore. However if the company’s current proposal is approved these would now remain on site, on a steep slope above the Araluen Valley and Eurobodalla catchments, thus presenting a significant pollution risk in dust, smoke or smelting residue. 

As reported in the media, Unity Mining's managing director Andrew McIlwain makes light of concerns about the use of cyanide at the mine “…as the potentially toxic substance could be used safely if handled correctly.” This cavalier approach comes despite the fact that in the short time in which the mine has been in operation, there have already been at least three episodes where waterways have been polluted.

According to reports, Andrew McIlwain admits the cyanide used in processing is potentially toxic.   Mining history both on the Majors Creek site and across the nation shows that it is totally impossible for anyone to guarantee that it would be “…handled and managed in the right scenario…” and consequently be “very safe.”

Noel Pratt

Kambah ACT



21/12 - Eurobodalla Shire Council Withdraws Appeal Against Dargues Reef Approval (from CRC)

Australian gold company Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC) is
pleased to advise that Eurobodalla Shire Council has withdrawn its
appeal in the Land and Environment Court against the NSW
Government’s approval of the Dargues Reef gold mine.
The Shire’s decision follows discussions between the Company,
Council officers, experts and NSW Planning Department officers, during
which Cortona was able to alleviate the Council’s concerns regarding
the Shire’s water supply.

The decision to withdraw the appeal means that there is now just one
appeal pending. That appeal is due to be heard on 1 February 2012.
Cortona’s Managing Director Peter van der Borgh commented: “Shire
officers and their expert engineer and hydrologist  acknowledged the
responsible approach Cortona has adopted towards environmental
protection, and were satisfied that the proposed mining methods,
technologies and monitoring procedures were the best available.

“It’s pleasing to end the year on a positive note,” Mr van der Borgh said,
“Eurobodalla Shire’s withdrawal should simplify our case, which is now
chiefly concerned with perceived impacts on biodiversity. The Project
has already been approved by the Federal government under the
Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank shareholders for their
support during the year,” he added. “Cortona remains on track to
become a significant Australian gold producer with the development of
Dargues Reef.”

Yours faithfully
Peter van der Borgh

Managing Director


21/12 - Eurobodalla Shire Council Withdraws Appeal Against Dargues Reef Approval

Cortona Resources has welcomed the Eurobodalla Shire Council's decision to withdraw its action in the Land and Environment Court against the New South Wales Government approval for the Dargues Reef gold mine.

Managing Director Peter van der Borgh said that discussions with the Council had resulted in an agreement to halt the legal action.

Mr van der Borgh thanked the Council for its co-operation in reaching a settlement and noted that the Council acknowledged the responsible approach to environmental protection Cortona has undertaken.

The Council will provide ongoing input on the mine through representation on the Dargues Reef Community Consultation Committee and water monitoring will be detailed in the company's water management plan. Cortona will also assist the Shire in its review of annual environmental data.

Mr van der Borgh said that during discussions with the Council's consultant engineer, the mine process and structure was fully explained. The Council, their independent hydrologist and engineer were satisfied that the mining methods, technologies and monitoring were the best available.

The Council accepted that acid-generating materials will be captured and exported from the site for further processing rather than going to the tailings dam, and waste rock backfilled in the mine voids is unlikely to contain significant acid-bearing minerals. Council also acknowledged that the negligible quantities of reagents used are biodegradable, and that aquifers are unlikely to be interconnected.

He said the Council had adopted a common sense approach and had saved ratepayers a substantial sum in legal fees.

Mr van der Borgh called on the Coastwatchers Association and South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) to likewise meet the company's representatives to have a similar open dialogue so that any concerns that remain can be addressed.

Discussions based on the same approach adopted by the Shire could resolve the issue and save taxpayers who are funding the legal action a lot of money. Reaching an acceptable resolution would see the mine generate a much needed boost to the local economy.

Mr van der Borgh said "Dargues Reef is a small underground mine with processing facilities to only undertake initial processing of ore, with further processing to be completed off site.

"The project is located 13km south of Braidwood on the southern tablelands. The mine size and environmental impact are very small and contained on site. Mine life is expected to be for 7 years and 355,000 tonnes of gold ore will be extracted and processed a year."

22/02 - Soon to Join the Ranks of Gold Producers

PDF icon CRC_Resources_Book_2012.pdf189.99 KB

Cortona Resources Limited (“Cortona”, “CRC”, “Company”)  is an emerging Australian gold company, focused on the development and exploration of its 100%-owned Majors Creek Project, located 60km east of Canberra in New South Wales (NSW).

The Dargues Reef deposit is expected to be the Company’s first operating mine following the positive feasibility study (FS) which provides  for solid cash flows from  an underground operation producing 50Kozpa over an initial 6 years mine lif.
See attached

22/04 - Gold miner polluting creek, says author French

Author Jackie French

Author Jackie French

Unity Mining is either unaware or underplaying another discharge of pollution from its gold mine development into surrounding creeks at Majors Creek, east of Canberra, says a downstream landholder.

Author Jackie French said it was the third time the creek, which runs through her property, had been polluted.

''The loud sound of frogs all along the Majors Creek conservation area and our property has vanished,'' Ms French said.

An EPA officer was on site at Majors Creek on Sunday assessing the latest discharge.

A Unity Mining spokesman said the mine was not dismissive or trying to underplay the discharge, but could not rule out as a cause Palerang Council's roadworks nearby. ''Obviously if it is ours, that is regrettable and not good enough,'' he said.

He said the mine was never meant to be a zero discharge site.

He said the Environmental Protection Authority had been happy with work done since issuing a clean-up notice from a previous discharge, which polluted Spring Creek and Majors Creek.

Ms French said Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority had organised an indigenous workshop in the area on Saturday and participants had confirmed the latest pollution, which followed 30 millimetres of rain over a 10-hour period from Friday.

''The matter entering Majors Creek this time appears to be mostly top soil,'' she said. ''It is dropping onto the creek faster than the clay suspension of the two previous pollution events, and appears to have far lower persistence.

''The event has been severe enough, however, to apparently kill all amphibians and fish, as while many were visible on Friday, the creek was barren at 3pm on Saturday.''

Ms French said Unity had emailed landholders at 3pm on Saturday, long after the pollution had reached their property and household water system. ''The email alleged that the spill was minor, and was not likely to pollute beyond the boundaries of the project,'' Ms French said.

''This is inaccurate. The pools to two kilometres downstream were black, the water four kilometres downstream still strongly coloured.''

At 5.05pm on Saturday dark matter was still seeping from Spring Creek into Major's Creek.

Unity said another member of the mine's community consultation committee, who lived downstream from Ms French, had reported no evidence of a discharge

Unity Mining is developing a $90 million gold mine and said previously sediment and water controls were compliant and the company was working to prevent spills.

22/04 - March 2014 Quarter Report to Shareholders

Key Points


  • Quarterly production of 7250 oz at a cash cost of $1380/oz
  • Read Zone drilling results include 0.4 m at 394 g/t and 1 m at 115 g/t gold


  • Technical studies and cost reduction programs continuing
  • Near-mine & regional exploration programs underway looking for analogues to Dargues mineralisation
  • $7.9M cash at bank, with an additional $11.2M cash-backed performance bonds

Complete report here

23/04 - Bendigo gold processing plans still on Unity agenda

A mining company says plans to process gold in Bendigo are still on the table, if it can secure regulatory approval.

Unity Mining wants to use its plant at Kangaroo Flat to process gold it hopes to mine at Dargues, near Canberra.

However, the project relies on the development of the Dargue mine, which has been in a temporary halt since last year.

Unity's latest quarterly report says it is still carrying out technical studies and cost reduction programs for Dargues.

It also says a key element of the site's future is finding the best way of processing material from the site.

It has told shareholders it is seeking clarification from Victorian regulatory authorities before it decides whether to truck ore to Bendigo or to pursue another option.

Unity says while the delays are frustrating, it is confident of Dargues's future.


23/04 - EPA called in to investigate another spill

The box cut construction looking back towards Majors Creek.

After approximately 30 mm of rain falling over a ten hour period on Friday night there was another pollution plume into Spring Creek from the Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek. This was only days after the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) had given the all clear after a previous sediment spill in February. On Thursday the Board of Unity Mining and the Dargues Reef Community Consultative Committee met on site and toured the new works, with emphasis on the sediment control works in place.

On Saturday morning first a darkish silt and then claylike sediment were evident downstream according to residents. While many residents notified the EPA during the day, Unity only notified the residents by email by 3pm.

In their email to Downstream Water Users, Unity said “An inspection of the site this morning showed that all sediment and erosion control structures performed as designed and the majority of sediment laden water has been contained on site. Regrettably, a sediment control structure that was put in place at one of the access road culverts closer to the main road was compromised and this has resulted in small volume of sediment being released into Spring Creek.

SEEC, the independent consultants appointed to monitor activities were on site on Friday and had inspected these areas.

The quantity of sediment released, is thought to be relatively minor with some discoloration of Spring Creek occurring. It is not expected that there will be any impact to water quality beyond the project's boundary.

Later on Radio a Unity spokesman said that extensive Council road works in the area may have caused the runoff, however Palerang Council has confirmed it did not have any work going on in the vicinity.”

Local resident Jackie French said 'Unity have refused our repeated requests to sample the polluted pools on our property on Saturday, Sunday and again on Monday. Instead, they sampled further down the valley, despite being told that the sediment appear to be heavy, and did not persist more than 4.5 km from the site. By Sunday morning the pollution was evident only in the deep pools. It is still there, as a dark murk if the water is stirred up.”

“Unity appear to be testing the places where they have been told there is no pollution, but refusing to test the areas where the pollution was deposited” she said. “Unity now say that Dargues was never intended to be a 'zero impact' mine. This was exactly what they did claim in the approval process when they said there would be no impact on endangered species or households downstream.'

“When they make a mess they should inspect it. Then they should clean it up” said Jackie.

Gary Whytcross, EPA Director Southern Region, said that the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is aware of the discharge from Unity Mine entering Majors Creek over the weekend and inspected the site yesterday and again today (Monday). The EPA has asked Unity Mine for a full report on the incident. The mine reported the incident to the EPA’s Environment Line on Saturday evening as per its environmental requirements, by which time the EPA had been alerted to the incident by the community” he said. “The Unity Mine was the subject of an EPA clean up notice in February this year.  Since being issued with the notice the Unity Mine has made significant improvements to the Mine’s operations to ensure that discharges off site are mitigated.”


23/06 - Community representatives air opposition to Unity Mining nod.

Community representatives say they will be asking the Bendigo council to speak to Victoria's mining minister about a mining company's plans to reopen its site in the city.

Unity Mining has been told it has approval to truck ore from its mine near Canberra to be processed at its plant in Kangaroo Flat.

Mary Markey from the mine's Environment Review Committee says the regulators should not have given their approval.

"I intend to have a meeting with council some time in July where we can all have this discussed and frankly even if the Minister doesn't change his mind on that being allowed we are now going to press the Minister to keep faith with the community," she said.

"Well I'll be explaining to the council that if they want proper regulations to be enforced it's up to the council to try to persuade the Minister to honour those regulations."

The city's planning director, Prue Mansfield, says there is no action the council can take, except to represent residents' concerns to the Minister.

"I entirely understand residents' disappointment that when they thought the end was in sight for the use of this site that in fact there's a new activity proposed to start there," she said.

"I entirely understand their concern and disappointment.

"Certainly the council if they chose could express again to the Minister that local residents had some concerns but there's no action that the council can take that can actually stop this."


23/08 - Dargues Reef DFS on Track for November 2010

PDF icon 6C694A70d01.pdf80.04 KB

ÔÇ£On time and On Budget"


Definitive Feasibility Study for +50,000oz pa gold operation
progressing well and on track for completion in November 2010, on time and on budget

Processing plant design completed with final quotes being collected

Decision to utilise paste-fill to allow full orebody extraction
ÔÇô selection of paste plant completed and paste design and test work underway

Final mine design in progress with several underground mining contractors invited to submit quotations

Environmental Assessment completed and lodged with NSW Department of Planning

Drilling ongoing with 2 rigs on site and resource upgrade due Q4 2010

Cortona Resources Limited (ÔÇ£CortonaÔÇØ ÔÇ£the CompanyÔÇØ) (ASX: CRC) is
pleased to provide an update on project development activities and
progress with the Definitive Feasibility Study (ÔÇ£DFSÔÇØ) at its 100%-owned
Dargues Reef Gold Project in New South Wales.

Cortona is very pleased to advise that the DFS is progressing well and is
expected to be completed on time and on budget in November 2010. The
Company is delighted with the quality of the work undertaken to date, and
the potential that has been identified for an even more robust project at
Dargues Reef.

See Attached for full details

24/11 - Drilling Confirms New Shallow Gold Discovery at Dargues Reef

Cortona Resources would like to inform you of todayÔÇÖs ASX Announcement:

Drilling Confirms New Shallow Gold Discovery at Dargues Reef


ÔÇó Further shallow gold mineralisation intersected 150m north of Dargues Reef, confirming the discovery of a new gold lode, the ÔÇ£Ruby LodeÔÇØ.

Best results include:

§ 3m @ 4.30g/t Au from 18m

§ 9m @ 3.96g/t Au from 95m (incl. 6m @ 4.98g/t)

§ 6m @ 3.50 g/t Au from 117m

§ 12.6m @ 9.90g/t (reported previously)

ÔÇó Gold mineralisation open along strike and at depth

ÔÇó Within development range of underground mine being planned, potential to add ounces per vertical metre, near term production and mine life at Dargues Reef.

ÔÇó Drilling continuing with two RC rigs to explore the extent of this new gold zone and a range of other shallow targets

ÔÇó Dargues Reef Feasibility Study nearing completion and due for release in late November

To read the full announcement, please click the following link ;


24/8 - Wildlife fears for Majors Creek mine

24 Aug, 2011 04:00 AM

The commission assessing the proposed Dargues Reef gold mine at Majors Creek considered owl calls, tadpoles, frogs and little fish yesterday.

More than 40 presentations from traditional land owners, shire councils, miners, farmers and residents were made before the Planning Assessment Commission in Braidwood.

Perth gold company Cortona Resources expects Dargues Reef deposit at Majors Creek, if approved, to produce 50,000 ounces of gold over an initial mine life of six years, but an independent environmental report and residents say there is a high risk of mining poisoning water catchments.

Bryan Sullivan, who lives 5km downstream with his wife and prominent author Jackie French, told yesterday's hearing that since recent heavy rains they had not heard the powerful deep calls of owls at night.

Nor had they noticed tadpoles, frogs and little fish in Majors Creek proper, even though they were plentiful in subsidiary creeks.

''Something has probably happened in the upper catchment area of the creek,'' he said.

''That disturbs us. I have no other data other than my observations.

''This has happened before mining has commenced.

''If mining commences, what else is going to happen?

''It could be much worse.''

Araluen Valley Agricultural Producers and Protectors of the Eco System Coalition spokeswoman Robyn Clubb said her group's submission included evidence from Mogo Land Council member and Aboriginal elder Tom Butler.

Mr Butler lived near the lower end of the Deua River, where perch and other fish and birds and trees were healthy.

''Why put it at risk with contaminating the water supply from up the top of the headwaters which is Majors Creek?''

River catchment resident Anne Rault questioned Cortona's pledge to maximise jobs for Braidwood, Araluen and Majors Creek communities, after noting the company's memorandum of understanding with Perth mining specialist GBF Mining and Industrial Services to provide experienced people for underground gold mining.

''If they are bringing in experienced crews, there won't be jobs for local people.''

Barry Thomas, who lives near the proposed mine site and has been attempting to rehabilitate the land scarred in the late 1800s, said he was concerned about water quality in the area.

An observer of the hearing, Jane Salmon, said she was amazed at the intensity and high quality of the debate.

''I thought it would be all quilters,'' she said.

''They would be divided between those worried about nature and those worried about tourism and jobs, there seems to be a split there.''

Cortona's managing director Peter van der Borgh said his company had taken a consultative approach and was very mindful of the wishes of those impacted by the mining proposal.

''I am very proud of our community engagement to date and the feedback has been integrated into the design,'' Mr van der Borgh said.

''Our history would demonstrate a community-based approach, from our first community meeting three years ago and a large number of engagements since.''


25/02 - Majors Creek sediment basin fails after heavy rain


Sediment flows into Spring Creek, which flows into Majors Creek.

Majors Creek and Araluen residents are furious a sediment basin below a gold mine under construction has failed after a few days of rain.

Earth work began on the underground mine east of Braidwood about a week ago and according to local residents there’s been a major spillage into Majors Creek.

A district resident said locals were furious problems had arisen so early into the construction of the major underground mine.

The former Perth-based Cortona Resources has been proposing the mine for several years, before merging with Unity Mining to create a $90 million company to kick off the project, which has an initial six-year timeframe.

A spokesman for Unity, Ian Howarth, said more than 36mm of rain over 24 hours caused ‘‘some issues’’.

He says work stopped on Thursday because the operators were aware of rain on the way and the area in question received the monthly average for February in 24 hours.

But residents say the sediment basin was meant to cope with a one-in-100 year flood.

Mr Howarth said the basin was designed and built in accordance with all planning approvals that were in place.

He said earthworks levelled off sites in preparation for building and a new access road.

The overflow spilled into Spring Creek, which flows into Majors Creek.

‘‘It’s just the volume of rain has created circumstances where these facilities ... where water has just come over the top," he said.

‘‘They are working now to beef up some of those facilities beyond what was designed.’’

Although not a requirement, the spillage had been reported to the Environmental Protection Authority.

Mr Howarth said gypsum was being added to the water in a catchment pond to settle sediment and the wall’s height would be increased.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/majors-creek-sediment-basin-fails-after-heavy-rain-20130225-2f0cy.html#ixzz2LsvlWMRU

25/05 - Mining Notice

25/09 - Henty September Quarter Production Preview

Unity Mining Limited (ASX:UML) (Unity or the Company) is pleased to 
report strong production performance in July and August at its Henty Gold 
Mine in Tasmania, primarily due to stopes mined from the Read Zone 
yielding a higher than forecast gold grade. This performance has 
continued into September (month to date) and means the company is on 
track to deliver a production result for the quarter which is at least 20% 
above target. 

The sustained focus on cost control and a strategy of maximising cash 
generation from the operation is expected to see a significant turnaround 
from previous quarters. 

The company will provide full details including final production and 
financial results in early October with the release of its September 2014 
Quarterly Report. 



25/10 - New Shallow High Grade Gold Discovery at Dargues Reef


┬À New shallow zone of high grade gold mineralisation discovered in drilling ~150m north of Dargues Reef: 12.6m @ 9.9g/t gold ~80m below surface

┬À Further mineralisation observed in five follow-up holes along ~90m of strike length, results pending

┬À Potential to add ounces per vertical metre, near term production and mine life at Dargues Reef

┬À Drilling is ongoing to explore the extent of this new gold zone and a range of other shallow targets

To read the full announcement, please click the following link;


26/06 - Creek sediment stirs up residents


Penny Hayman by the edge of the swollen and polluted Majors Creek. Photo: Jay Cronan

Residents near the goldmine near Braidwood are nervous after another rush of pollution down their local creek following recent rain.

The Environment Protection Authority continues to investigate the incident, after the usually clear Majors Creek was turned opaque by the fourth discharge of sediment connected to the Dargues Reef mine since February.

Araluen retiree Penny Hayman said despite better communication, the mine's owner - Unity Mining - was not doing enough to prevent the repeated pollution.


Majors Creek after rainfall on June 24. Photo: Alex Rea


''It's a bit of a shame, and it makes you nervous,'' Ms Hayman said.

''Looking from the outside, the company and its employees are now running a line that this is OK.''

EPA NSW south-east region manager Nigel Sargent said the discharge - which continued to discolour the creek on Tuesday afternoon, a day after it began - would not have long-term environmental consequences.

''There are a number of sediment and erosion controls on the site. They have retained most of the coarse material, and what we're seeing is colloidal material - superfine, electrically charged particles - which isn't able to be filtered,'' Mr Sargent said.

''We'd expect to see the very fine colloidal material to be discharged, [and] we'd expect that material to move through the river system very quickly. I wouldn't expect to see significant damage.''

Mr Sargent said the majority of sediment appeared to be from the construction site for an access road, not the mine itself, which is many months away from production.

Long-time Araluen resident and author Jackie French said the creek metres from her home was crystal clear at 9.15am on Monday, but turned a ''dark yellow-orange'' after the sediment arrived at 10.30am.

In an email at 11am, Unity Mining suggested that registered downstream water users ''refrain from using the water at this time'' if it appeared cloudy or there were other quality concerns.

Ms French said her concern was any discharge after goldmining began would not have the same temporary consequences.

Mr Sargent said the mine's planning consent had a different system for controlling the mine waste and metallic materials.

''They would provide a risk if they were released, [but] there will be more stringent controls in place.''

He said the EPA was monitoring the situation closely, and had required the company to make continuing improvements since February.

''We are investigating the cause of each of the incidents, and we will make a decision as to what the appropriate response is when investigation is complete,'' Mr Sargent said.

''We have a year to make a decision about what formal action is taken.''

There was no response from Unity Mining on Tuesday.

In an email to Ms French after the earlier three discharges, Dargues Gold Mine said the mine was not required to have a zero discharge of water from the site, and that the flows were ''designed discharges as per the sediment and erosion control plan''.





26/08 - Gold rush hits South East NSW

26 Aug, 2011 09:36 AM

A SLEW of mining operations are on the cusp of exploring tenements in South East NSW as gold fever hits the region.

Queanbeyan is at the centre of activity as companies prepare to dig at Braidwood, Bredbo, Gunning and Dalton.

One prospector has described the surge in activity as Australia’s third gold rush.

Cortona Resources, Waratah Resources, Commissioners Gold and Capital Mining are all planning to extract the precious yellow metal.

Capital Mining chief executive Robert McCauley said things were looking good for his operations.

‘‘Queanbeyan is quite central to this process,’’ Mr McCauley said. ‘‘I think a lot is going to happen in the next few years. Many of our tenements would be profitable at US$1000 an ounce.’’

Currently gold is tracking at about US$1900 an ounce. However Mr McCauley expects it to go a lot higher.

‘‘It wouldn’t surprise me in the next few years if it went to US$3500 or US$4000 – it could go as high as US$5000,’’ he said.

‘‘Obviously if you have gold where it is now, and the way I think it’s going, then [exploration] is very viable.

‘‘I’ve described it as Australia’s third gold rush.’’

He said he had spent 30 years in the industry but hadn’t seen conditions this favourable since the mid-1980s.

He said the equivalent price now for gold, if you took inflation into account, would be about US$2300 an ounce.

‘‘I have no problem locking things into gold. We knew it would go up and we’re pretty excited now.’’

The most advanced exploration underway is Cortona’s Dargues Reef Gold Project at Majors Creek, near Braidwood.

Despite fierce opposition from some residents about water contamination and environmental impacts, the NSW Department of Planning has finalised the company’s application and sent it to the Planning Assessment Commission for final determination.

The commission met with residents at Braidwood this week to hear public submissions before a decision on the project.

South East Region Conservation Alliance spokeswoman Jane Salmon said there were 40 presentations at the meeting.

‘‘The most consistent concern was the contamination of water,’’ Ms Salmon said. ‘‘The issue was the hydrology seemed to be wrong and the geological report [from the NSW Department of Planning] did not account for the permeability of the rock.’’

She said this meant leaching from the mine remained an issue that could lead to pollution of Majors Creek.

‘‘Flooding could poison the whole river system,’’ Ms Salmon said.

A Cortona spokesman said the company would like to get things started by the end of the year.

He said it had done everything it could and was now working to ensure environmental concerns were addressed.

If approved, the Dargues Reef Project would be expected to produce 50,000 ounces of gold over the initial mine life of six years.


26/10 - Deadline for submissions on Dargues Reef Mine

The deadline for Submissions to the Department of Planning on the Cortona Resources proposal for an underground mine and associated infrastructure at Dargues Reef near Majors Creek is next Monday 1st November.
The proposed mine would produce up to 354,000 tonnes of ore a year for up to 5 years which would be transported from the site by truck.

The proposal comes under the Approval Authority of the Minister for Planning under Part 3A of the environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The Environmental Assessment for the proposal is currently on exhibition and hard copies can be viewed at the Palerang Council offices or on the department of Planning website, and more information is available at www.majorscreek.org.au


26/10 - French's fear over mine water flows

Mothball, the wombat which inspired Jackie French's international best-selling children's book Diary of a Wombat, still lives in a burrow she dug under the author's house.
But French fears the famous Mothball (now 15-years-old, greying and given to standing on logs to literally stare down younger wombats) and the abundant wildlife on her river valley property face an uncertain and potentially drier future.

''The valley, all the animals and plants that live here depend on water without it, everything will die.''

After recently obtaining a copy of the environmental assessment for the proposed Dargues Reef goldmine at Majors Creek, French and her partner Bryan Sullivan discovered the mine would use 130 megalitres of water a year, with 66 megalitres to be sourced from groundwater. The proposed mine is around 40km from Braidwood, and only 4km upstream from French's property, Neverbreak Hills, in the Araluen Valley.

''It is an extraordinary, devastating amount of water to be taking at a time when governments are talking about the need to give water back to the environment,'' she said.

A spokesman for Cortona Resources, the West Australian company planning to develop the mine, said managing director Peter van der Borgh was on a flight to Canberra yesterday and could not be contacted. Mitchell Bland, a NSW environmental consultant who coordinated the mine's environmental assessment report, disputes French's claim that groundwater extraction will affect the valley's wildlife.

''We knew groundwater was going to be an issue, which is why we put a lot of effort into that aspect of the report,'' he said. Gaia Research, the company which prepared the environmental study, spent $200,000 on computer modelling to assess the impact of groundwater extraction.

Mr Bland said the modelling did not factor in climate change scenarios for future water availability ''because there were too many variables''.

French said the goldmine ''seemed like a good plan for the area'' until she discovered the amount of water use involved. She also discovered the mine proposal included a 25m high tailings dam, covering 9ha, just 4km above her property.

For more on this story, including French's comments on what the valley has meant for her writing, see the print edition of today's Canberra Times.


27/01 - Independent inquiry call on Araluen mine

The Araluen and Major's Creek communities in the New South Wales south east have called for an independent inquiry into a proposed gold mine.

There is concern the Dargues Reef development will harm the surrounding environment, and people voted unanimously for an investigation this week.

Residents say the inquiry should use experts nominated by the community, but must be paid for by the developer, Cortona Resources.

A Greens Councillor on the Palerang Shire Council, Catherine Moore, says the mine paves the way for more damage.

"Many of us are concerned about the fact that this is going to be a huge operation if it goes ahead," she said.

"At the moment, it appears to be fairly restricted to Major's Creek, but the tentacles are out further afield in the exploration area that Cortona has taken the rights on."


27/02 - Development of Dargues Gold Mine - Progress in pictures (1st Update)

PDF icon On the road to production1 MB

Monday 11 February saw the commencement of pre-development earthworks at Unity's Dargues Gold Mine in NSW.
Excavation of the "box-cut" - from which the underground mine will be accessed - as well as construction of the 3km site access road form part of this initial work program.
The following link contains a number of site photos - importantly showing where work has started in the key areas.  We will provide this photo collage on a regular basis to keep you up to date with our progress.
Approximately 35 people are now engaged on site, with further recruitment occurring as work accelerates.
We are pleased that the project will provide significant employment and economic benefits to the region and will keep you informed of our progress towards our objective of pouring the first gold from Dargues in 2014.

27/08 - Update on Dargues Gold Mine and future exploration plans

Update on Dargues Gold Mine and future exploration plans
Mining NSW Conference
27 August 2014


See attached

27/11 - Dargues Gold Mine will bring riches to Majors Creek, says United Mining's CEO

The phrase "as good as gold" came into use in the 1820s when banknotes were first introduced and there was scepticism about their genuine value. Gold was considered to have inherent value, and it still does.

The gold at Dargues Gold Mine, Majors Creek, NSW holds intrinsic value to Unity Mining and its shareholders, certainly, but the $250 million project also represents  prosperity for the Majors Creek region.

Jobs, education and training flow on to local businesses.
CEO of United Mining, Andrew McIlwain.

Jobs, education and training flow on to local businesses, and investment in local infrastructure and community life follow. .

Review of where the precious metal from Dargues Gold Mine will be processed came following the change in ownership from Cortona Resources to Unity Mining Limited in 2013.AdvertisementWhile on-site ore processing has always been a feature of the approved project, Unity's detailed reviews and studies made it very clear that final processing and gold recovery at Dargues is the best and safest way forward.

I acknowledge the issue about trust and I understand that change may not be comfortable.I also recognise that cyanide has a historic reputation.

However, gold processing using cyanide leaching can be done safely. We know this because we do it at our Henty Gold Minein the mountainous  area of the Henty Valley on the west coast of Tasmania, adjacent to the Southwest Conservation Area.

It is safe and we the company has  used this practice for many years without incident. We are proud to demonstrate this and will take a number of local residents to Henty to view the processing procedure in the next few weeks.

I understand that this was not part of the originally approved plan, however the planning modification process allows for everyone's input.

This  initiative will bring significant prosperity at a time when employment opportunities in the region are scarce. Dargues is planned to have a  six-year life based on current reserves, including a 12-month construction period and  five years in operation.

The project will generate about 100 jobs during construction and 120 residential jobs during the operation of the mine. There will be opportunities for local small businesses to gear up to service these needs and for the potential revival of the area's 1850s gold-mining history as a local attraction.

There is some misinformation about the source of gold to be processed at Dargues. Only gold mined at the Dargues Gold Mine will be processed on site.

There is also misinformation about other chemical elements that may be involved. As with the soil in your garden, there are naturally occurring trace elements brought up with the gold.

These are in minute quantities and will be contained safely in the lined tailings storage facility.

 I am visiting Braidwood and Moruya for community sessions to answer any questions   on December 16 and 17

You can contact me any time via email at darguesinfoline@unitymining.com.au or call the Dargues Info Line on 1800 732 002.

Local gold will bring prosperity to your local community. What I ask is that you consider the modification that Unity is proposing with the same rigour that you apply to other decisions that you make for the benefit of your family and the community in which you live.

Andrew McIlwain is the chief executive  of Unity Mining Limited.

28/02 - EPA places Dargues Reef Mine operators under strict environmental conditions

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Big Island Mining with an immediate Clean-Up Notice for the Dargues Reef Mine construction site in Majors Creek following a water pollution incident during heavy rain last weekend.

The Notice requires the operators to take immediate action to ensure that appropriate environmental controls are in place and are being adhered to.

It requires the company to engage the expert services of a sediment erosion control professional to inspect the site, make recommendations for improvements and performance monitoring.

EPA Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said that the regulatory action follows a heavy rain incident on February 24 when run off from the site’s earthworks was washed into Spring Creek, a tributary of Majors Creek.

“The EPA received a self-report from the company on February 24, as well as a number of complaints about turbid water being discharged from the mine site and a possible failure of the sediment dam,” Mr Gifford said.

“An inspection by EPA officers the next day found that large areas of track construction did not have sediment and erosion control measures in place, allowing sediment laden water to move through the site.

“The EPA took immediate action to get the company to improve its environmental controls, including issuing a Clean-Up Notice which requires regular progress and compliance reports to the EPA.

“The EPA has also met with the company’s senior management and will continue to monitor the situation onsite, especially in high wet weather events, to ensure the incident does not reoccur.

“This will include water testing of Spring and Majors creeks, random site inspections and following up on any concerns raised by residents.”

Mr Gifford said that the EPA is still investigating the February 24 incident and will determine a regulatory response when investigations are completed.

Fines for not complying with a Clean-Up Notice are up to $1 million for a corporation and an additional $120,000 for every day that the offence continues.

Anybody who has concerns about potential environmental impacts from the Dargues Reef Mine should call the Enviro Line on 131 555.


28/03 - Credit Approved Commitment for $42M Financing Package received from Deutsche Bank

Construction set to start by year-end, with first production scheduled in 2013


Key Points:

• Deutsche Bank provides credit approved commitment for
A$42M financing package

• Overall development financing package targeted for
completion in Q3 2012, with development planned to follow
soon thereafter

Australian gold company Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC) is
pleased to advise that it is on track to begin development of its
flagship Dargues Reef Gold Project in NSW, having signed a credit
approved commitment letter with Deutsche Bank AG (“Deutsche
Bank”), Sydney Branch, in respect of an  A$42 million financing
package to underpin project construction. 

This important milestone follows extensive due diligence conducted
by Deutsche Bank since it was mandated to provide the financing
package in August last year, as well as the receipt of key State and
Federal environmental approvals for the Dargues Reef Gold Project
last month.

The financing package remains subject to a number of conditions
precedent customary for financing arrangements of this nature,
including final regulatory approval for the transport of gold
concentrate off-site to the mothballed London Victoria treatment
plant located at Parkes. Cortona will operate this plant, which is now
on care and maintenance, but was previously owned and operated
by BHP Billiton.

The Dargues Reef Gold Project, which is located near Braidwood
approximately 60km south-east of Canberra in NSW, is expected to
be one of the few Australian gold projects which this year will move
from feasibility to development, and into production next year.
Cortona’s Managing Director, Peter van der Borgh, said receipt of the commitment from
Deutsche Bank represented a key milestone for the Company, effectively laying the
foundations for completing the overall financing package and the commencement of mine
development and construction.

“This key development should enable us to move ahead with completion of an overall debt
and equity financing package.” Mr van der Borgh commented.

The timetable to production for the Dargues Reef Gold Project is now forecast to be:

• Receipt of Environmental Protection License – Q2 2012
• Grant of Mining Lease by NSW State Government – Q2 2012
• Council approval for transportation of gold concentrate off-site to Parkes – Q2 2012
• Approval to utilise paste-fill in underground mine – Q2/Q3 2012
• Completion of overall project financing package – Q3 2012
• Commencement of construction – Q4 2012

The Dargues Reef Gold Project will be an underground mine feeding a 330,000tpa on-site
plant, with forecast production ramping up to a peak rate of ~65,000oz per annum, and
averaging 50,000ozpa over the life of mine, at a forecast C1 unit cash operating cost of
A$697/oz. This operating cost includes a 10 per cent contingency.

The mine is forecast to generate free cash flow of ~A$125 million over its initial 6-year mine
life, using a gold price of A$1,550 per ounce. The  robust economics of the project are
underpinned by the high grade of the deposit, which has an undiluted grade of 7.25g/t Au.

Ore will undergo crushing and grinding at the Dargues Reef site, with 50 per cent of the
gold recovered via gravity methods on site and the balance recovered from a pyrite-gold
concentrate (grading ~25g/t Au). The concentrate will be transported approximately 400km
to the London Victoria gold treatment plant near Parkes which Cortona will operate to
recover gold bars.

“We are targeting financing to be completed during  the third Quarter of 2012, once we
satisfy the conditions precedent including receipt of the outstanding regulatory approvals,
which are largely procedural” Peter van der Borgh said.

The Financing Package includes a prepaid gold forward and requires Cortona to commit to
a gold hedging program (“Hedging Program”). The total quantum of gold ounces committed
under the Financing Package will be dependent upon the prevailing spot price at financial
close but is expected to represent approximately 30% of the existing proven and probable
reserves at Dargues Reef. The Hedging Program will  secure the Company's repayment
obligations whilst providing Cortona with significant exposure to the spot price in this very
strong gold market.

Yours faithfully
Peter van der Borgh

Managing Director


28/05- ASX Announcement - Unity Corporate Update

  • Significant new drill targets defined at Henty
  • Henty production improved quarter to date
  • Pursuing completion of LionGold share placement

See attached  ASX Update

28/09 - Cortona Resources and Unity Mining Announce Merger  to Form Growing Australian Gold Business

Highlights of the Merged Entity

  • A growth profile showing gold production increasing to around 100,000 ounces per annum
  • Combined cash reserves in excess of $40 million, plus cashflow from the Henty Gold Mine
  • Gold reserves of approximately 350,000 ounces
  • Gold resources in excess of 735,000 ounces
  • Pro forma market capitalisation of ~$90 million
  • Exposure to West African gold exploration assets through 34% investment in GoldStone Resources Limited
  • Capacity for continued growth through logical industry consolidation

28 September 2012. Cortona Resources Limited (ASX:CRC) (“Cortona”) and Unity Mining Limited
(ASX:UML) (“Unity”) are pleased to announce that they have agreed to combine the companies
(“Merger”) and create a significant growing Australian gold business under the Unity banner.   
See attached for complete information.


ASX/Media Release - 28th September 2011


• Federal Government approval (EPBC) for Dargues Reef

• Final Designs received for box cut and access road

• RC drilling commences at Copper Ridge


28/09 - Final green light for Majors Creek gold mine

A proposed gold mine near Braidwood has received one of the final ticks of approval it needs before it can begin.

Western Australian company Cortona Resources is planning a six year mine at Majors Creek, 60 kilometres east of Canberra.

It is expected to produce 50,000 ounces of gold a year and create 100 jobs during construction and 80 during the mine's operation.

Earlier this month the project received approval from the New South Wales Government, and now the Federal Government has signed off on the plan under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

But the project is not without opponents, with some nearby residents concerned about the mine's impact on the ground water supply and the environmental risks posed by the tailings dam.

Construction of the mine is expected to start early next year.


28/10 - Unity Mining: ASX Release - September 2013 Quarterly Report


  • Quarterly production of 11,607 oz gold at cash cost of $1065/oz
  • Exploration drilling has extended Darwin South mineralisation;results include 8.35 m at 19.4 g/t and 6.2 m at 14.8 g/t
  • Drilling also continued to identify high grade zones within the envelope of the Read Zone


  •  Access road complete; mining contractor mobilised to commence portal development
  • Bendigo plant to be re-tasked to support Dargues project; crush & grind equipment to be relocated to NSW, gold concentrate to be processed at Bendigo
  • CBA mandated to provide $45M gold loan funding package
  •  $19.7M cash in bank, with an additional $11.2M held in bonds

29/02 - Intresting read of CRC shares movements

29/08 - Unity Mining still keen to sell Bendigo site

Unity Mining says it is still trying to sell its site in Bendigo, three years after gold production there ended.

Unity has announced it made a net loss of $52 million last financial year.

That follows a loss of $26 million over the previous 12 months.

The company's share price has dropped to about the one cent mark since May.

Gold production ceased at the company's Kangaroo Flat site in 2011.

Unity has told the share market it is still hoping to sell the site.

The company has been under pressure to clean up its land across Bendigo and it says non-critical areas are being progressively rehabilitated.

Plans to process material from New South Wales at Kangaroo Flat remain on hold as Unity tries to find funding to develop the new mine near Canberra.

Gold production at Unity's mine in Tasmania is likely to finish at the end of next year.



29/09 - Dargues Reef Environmental Assessment Set for Public Display

This Wednesday (September 29) an independent Environmental Assessment study of the Dargues Reef Gold Project at Majors Creek near Braidwood will be made available for public review via the New South Wales Department of Planning.

The document will be available on Wednesday for download from http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id...

Attached please find background materials which may assist you on the Major's Creek community website including:

- A media release explaining the availability of the Environmental Assessment
- A brief history of gold in Braidwood
- Background on Cortona Resources which has been conducting the Project exploration
- The NSW Department of PlanningÔÇÖs fact sheet explaining the Environmental Assessment process

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give me a call on 0415 682 917.

Kind regards

Claire Roberts
Community Consultation Officer

30/04 - Unity Mining: ASX Release - Becoming a substantial holder

PDF icon 30042014-ASX-Release-Form-604-Igo.pdf866.1 KB

30/08 - Finances keep new gold mine on hold

Cautious investors could stall a major underground gold mine east of Canberra, which will cost more than $77 million to build.

Almost a year after state and federal agencies approved Cortona Resources' gold mine at Majors Creek near Braidwood, the Perth company is yet to reveal a starting date.

In the company's 2012 annual report, chairman Clive Jones said financial markets' low appetite for risk would continue to influence how and when the mine would be funded.

''While Australia is well placed to withstand the current global economic and financial uncertainty, financial markets have exhibited a degree of precautionary behaviour and shown a low appetite for risk,'' Mr Jones said.

''These conditions will continue at least in the near term and will have some influence on how and when the Dargues Reef gold project will be fully funded.

''The board is aware that the transition from explorer through construction to producer will be difficult, but we look forward to the challenges transforming the company from a successful explorer into an emerging gold producer.''

Mr Jones said total capital development costs were about $77.6 million. The current 257,000 ounce mineral inventory, based on a gold price of $1600 an ounce, would return cash flow of about $112 million, at a net present value of $66 million.

In February, Hartleys resources analyst Mike Millikan said construction would begin this year and production early next year, and financing was expected to be completed soon.

Earlier this year Cortona announced it had secured $42 million from Deutsche Bank to begin developing the mine.

It said construction was to begin in the final quarter of this year.

The project will provide about 100 construction and 80 permanent jobs.

Mining equipment supplier Gekko Systems marketing manager Mick Alsop said the biggest costs for mining operators was trucking material from inside the mine to the surface.

Other big costs were concreting the void, ventilation and processing ore.

Cortona's planning documents show the box-cut mine and huge tailings dam will take about six months to build.

Eighteen heavy vehicles and 20 light vehicles will be used during mining.

Last year's state and federal government approval of the project saw Cortona's share price rise 9.68 per cent to 17c.

Yesterday the share price was a little over 9c. Managing director Peter van der Borgh did not return calls from The Canberra Times.


John Thistleton


Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/finances-keep-new-gold-mine-on-hold-20120829-251cn.html#ixzz24yOHQ7j7



30/09 - FREE EDO workshop ÔÇô Private Conservation ÔÇô Braidwood

Much of the high conservation value vegetation in NSW is on private property and this vegetation provides critical habitat to many threatened species.

Governments and other environmental organisations have recognised the need to protect biodiversity on private land by offering a range of formal and informal agreements and incentives.

The Environmental Defenders Office is hosting a free workshop on private conservation in NSW.

Date : Wednesday 27 October 2010
Time : 5pm ÔÇô 6:30pm
Venue : CWA Building , Wallace St, Braidwood (next to the Post Office)

The session will feature short talks from EDO lawyers explaining the various options that are available for landowners and the legal implications of each.

All attendees will be provided with a free copy of the EDO's publication, ÔÇÿA guide to private conservation in NSW'.

After a complimentary light lunch, the optional afternoon session will involve a visit to two properties which are subject to private conservation mechanisms.

Attendance is free, but prior registration is essential .

Please RSVP to education@edo.org.au or 02 9262 6989 .

This project has been assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust .


30/10 - Unity Gate to Gate Fun Run

To celebrate the completion of the access road at the Dargues Gold Mine, Unity Mining held a Gate to Gate Fun Run on Sunday morning.

There was a good turnout with about 100 people including lots of kids and families, and even a couple of dogs in the run.

Braidwood Buses shipped everyone up to the front gate – the runners went first and then the walkers.

The Winner and first man across the line was Stuart Doyle (from Canberra) in 9 minutes, 59.7 seconds. The first lady was Louise Sharp (also from Canberra) in 11 minutes, 14.8 seconds.  The first child was Cate Gifford in 12 minutes, 32.4 seconds. The first Dargues Gold Mine employee across the line Joshua Kennedy.

Once they had passed the finish line, people had the option to have a bus tour around the ROM Pad and the Boxcut with Senior Mine Engineer, Joshua Kennedy, and our Project Engineer, James Dornan, as tour guide.

A sausage sizzle on the day raised $108.35 for the local Rural Fire Service.

The RFS from Majors Creek also came along and did the walk, also hoping to recruit a few more members to the RFS.

Lots of Unity staff were involved withTony Davis, Chief Operating Officer – Unity Mining, started the race, Hamish McLeod, Mine Manager, as the official timer and ribbon holder at the end and Unity General Manager Scott Jones presented the prizes.

Photos can been see here






┬À Positive Feasibility Study confirms viability of Phase 1 underground mining operation at Dargues Reef Gold Project, NSW.

┬À Key Phase 1 outcomes include:

§ Ore production rate of 330,000tpa.

§ Average annual production of 50,000oz pa.

§ Production of 248,900 recovered ounces over an initial 6 year mine life.

§ Estimated average life-of-mine cash operating cost of A$628/oz (excluding royalties and contingencies)

§ Maiden mining inventory of 1.58Mt @ 5.12/t Au for 248,900oz.

§ First year capital requirement A$42 million.

§ Estimated gross sales revenue of +A$300 million over Phase 1 life of mine.

§ Life-of-mine pre-tax operating profit of $80 million.

§ Pre-tax NPV8% of A$47 million and IRR of 30% using a A$1,250/oz gold price.

§ Pre-tax NPV8% of A$75 million and IRR of 42% using current spot price of A$1,400.

┬À 40% increase in recovered metal compared with Scoping Study 248,900oz of gold and 73,144oz of silver.

┬À A$42 million pre-production capital cost estimate includes establishment of the box-cut and 6 months underground development,

plant construction (including paste plant) and tailings dam construction.

To read the full announcement, please click the following link ;



29 April 2014 
Manager, Company Announcements
Australian Securities Exchange Limited

Please find attached a Notice of General Meeting of Shareholders to be held as follows: 
Time:    10.30am 
Date:    Friday, 30 May 2014 
Venue:   Unity Mining Limited 
    Level 10 
    350 Collins Street 
    MELBOURNE VIC 3000  

31/01 - Cortona Reaches Agreement with Objectors to Dargues Reef Mine Development

Australian gold company Cortona Resources Limited (ASX: CRC) is
pleased to advise that it has reached agreement with The
Coastwatchers Association Inc and South East Region
Conservation Alliance Inc. These groups formed the  second and
final group of objectors to the development approval granted in
September last year for Cortona’s 100%-owned  Dargues Reef
Gold Mine (Mine) in NSW.

This follows the decision by the Eurobodalla Shire  Council (ESC),
announced in December last year, to withdraw from the appeals
process after Cortona was able to satisfy the ESC about its
concerns regarding the Shire’s water supply. 

The objectors were originally seeking an order from the Land and
Environment Court (LEC) that approval for the Mine be refused. The
litigation was due to commence hearing on 1 February 2012 and
was listed for eight hearing days.

At a pre-hearing mention yesterday, the legal representatives for the
NSW Minister for Planning, Cortona and the objector litigants
informed the Court of the agreement and requested that the LEC
grant a project approval for the mine by amending the Minister's
approval in accordance with the agreement reached between the

In accordance with the LEC's usual practice, the Court determined
that persons who had earlier informed the Department that they
wanted to give evidence at the hearing, should have an opportunity
to give their comments (if any) on the parties' proposed consent
orders. The LEC has provided for their written submissions to be
received by Friday this week to be heard and concluded on
7 February 2012.

Managing Director Peter van der Borgh said “We are very pleased
to have reached agreement with The Coastwatchers Association Inc
and the South East Region Conservation Alliance Inc, marking the
resolution of the second group of outstanding appeals against the
development approval.

“Under this agreement, the Court will be invited to approve the Mine
subject to amendments to the Minister's project approval. This
agreement also captures the earlier agreement which Cortona 2
reached with Eurobodalla Shire Council which saw it withdraw its appeal in the LEC in
December 2011.

“While the Court always has discretion to either refuse or grant approval, having regard to
the agreement that has been reached between the parties, we look forward to the Court's
final determination of the proceedings at the hearing next week.

The end of legal action will remove a lengthy period of uncertainty allowing Cortona to
finalise its remaining permitting requirements to develop the project, and proceed with the
development of Dargues Reef for the benefit of shareholders and local communities.

Yours faithfully
Peter van der Borgh
Managing Director

For further information, please contact:

Peter van der Borgh
Managing Director
+618 9485 0577
Nicholas Read
Read Corporate

+618 9388 1474


31/08 - Hartleys Research Report

PDF icon Hartleys Research Report1.38 MB


Dargues Reef on course for gold production

Cortona Resources Limited (ÔÇ£CortonaÔÇØ, ÔÇ£CRCÔÇØ, ÔÇ£CompanyÔÇØ) is progressing
the underground development of its 100%-owned Dargues Reef Gold
Project, located 60km east of Canberra in New South Wales. The Company
is currently undertaking a Definitive Feasibility Study (ÔÇ£DFSÔÇØ), which is on
track for completion in November 2010.

Scoped as commercially robust; DFS near completion

The scoping study for Dargues Reef was based on an assessment of the
Main Lode which contains a current resource of 286Koz at a grade of 6.2g/t
gold. The study indicated that production of 40-50Koz gold per annum over
4 years would be viable from capital costs in the order of A$30m. CortonaÔǃs
estimated cash operating costs of mining (sub-level open stoping) accessed via a decline. The Company has
now progressed to a DFS and regulatory approvals for mine development,
while continuing active exploration to further improve the project economics.

Resource upgrade and maiden reserve expected soon

As part of the DFS, Cortona has completed resource infill and extensional
drilling, with a new resource estimate expected before the end of the year.
The Company is targeting near term resource growth of ~200Koz gold to
yield a resource in the order of 500Koz gold. The vast majority is expected
to be in the measured and indicated categories, enabling a maiden reserve
to be calculated. The Dargues Reef Main Lode remains open at depth
allowing for potential mine life extensions. In addition, there are parallel
mineralised lodes (Plums and Hanging Wall), which are only 200m to the
east of the Main Lode. However, these have not been included in the
current mining plan but highlight potential development options.

Substantial exploration upside near mine and regionally
The historical goldfield has received minimal modern exploration. However,
recent exploration success by Cortona at Dreadnought and Tory Boy,
located within 2km of Dargues Reef, has highlighted good potential for
additional discoveries, which may lead to resource growth and mine life

Initiate Coverage with a Speculative Buy

We see Cortona as a good quality explorer transitioning through to gold
producer via the development of Dargues Reef. The Dargues Reef ore body
is relatively wide, at an average width of 6-7m allowing for efficient
mechanised mining methods with low mining dilutions. In addition, high
grades and excellent metallurgical characteristics enabling high recoveries
(>95%), bode well for low operating costs, ensuring good margins.
The Company will have steady news flow over the coming months, including
a resource upgrade, on-going drill results from exploration and the release
of a DFS which is expected to be favourable. We have a preliminary
valuation of A$70m (ignoring funding) which is above the current market
capitalisation of A$28m. We note that that using the current shares on issue
this equates to 41cps. We initiate coverage of Cortona Resources Limited
with a Speculative Buy recommendation.

See attached for full details

31/10 - Submission from the Majors Creek Community Liaison Committee.

The group of Majors Creek residents represented by this committee expresses a wide
variety of opinions regarding the mine proposal from vehemently against it, to
passionately in favour. This committee has worked hard to reflect that wide variety of opinion.

This submission is our best attempt to do so.

See file attachment below

ABC News Radio grabs of Water issues and Araluen with Cortona

Analytical results for water and stream sediment samples from Majors Creek area.1985

PDF icon GS1985_268.R00014023.pdf1.58 MB

Water and stream sediment samples were collected in Majors Creek and Spring Creek.

Tables of analytical results are given without interpretation or conclusions.

** These samples include Dargue's reef mine shaft and 200 Mtrs upstream & 20 Mtrs downstream

Araluen Water Quality Sampling Report -2000

The rural community of Araluen, located 56 km northwest of Moruya, is almost totally
dependent on groundwater for their domestic, stock and agricultural needs. The Araluen
Valley groundwater resource, is deemed of highest beneficial use, as it provides drinking
water, water for large scale crop irrigation, plus stock and domestic supplies.

This aquifer system is also ranked as the third most ÔÇ£at riskÔÇØ aquifer in the Sydney South Coast Region, based on both the quantity and quality pressures on the groundwater resource.

In response to concern over declining water levels in local wells and bores, the Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC), undertook a preliminary groundwater study in the
Araluen valley in September 1997. The study aimed at gaining an insight into the groundwater resource and addressing issues raised by local groundwater stakeholders.

The groundwater sampling component of the 1997 study (Sanders, 1997), discovered water
quality issues within the Araluen valley. The results indicated that 14 of the 15 bores/wells sampled showed signs of faecal pollution. The Health Department was subsequently alerted to the study findings, and Araluen residents were advised to boil their drinking water. In response to the 1997 study further work was undertaken by DLWC. A DLWC drilling program was undertaken in 1998 to install nine monitoring bores throughout the valley.

Subesquently, all of the nine DLWC monitoring bores have had automatic groundwater level
recording devices installed, with ongoing maintenance and data retrieval.

Call to suspend mining in NSW

The NSW FarmersÔǃ Association is calling for a moratorium on any new mining or coal seam gas development across the State.
NSW FarmersÔǃ Association Mining Taskforce Chair Fiona Simson says the Executive Council has voted unanimously in support of a suspension at a meeting in Sydney.
ÔÇ£The coal seam gas industry in NSW is expanding rapidly,ÔÇØ Mrs Simson said.
ÔÇ£Mineral and petroleum titles and applications now cover around 70 percent of the State,ÔÇØ Mrs Simson said.
The Association is calling on the NSW Government and Opposition to develop a strategic plan for the coal, and coal seam gas industries, and support a moratorium until a plan is implemented.
ÔÇ£These industries are being allowed to flourish without proper concern for the threat they pose to farmland and water resources,ÔÇØ Mrs Simson said.
ÔÇ£WeÔǃre not opposed to mining and coal seam gas development, but want see a balanced approach taken when decisions are made about where development can take place.
ÔÇ£A strategic plan should consider a transparent approval process, independent monitoring of mining and gas industries, and aquifer protection.
ÔÇ£The plan should also impose strict parameters on ÔÇ×sleeperÔǃ licences, which threaten to see mining activities revived after many decades.
ÔÇ£ItÔǃs also important any landholders affected by these industries have access to just terms compensation,ÔÇØ Mrs Simson said.
The moratorium the Association is in favour of would apply to new mineral and gas applications, renewals, or extensions.
Contact: Olivia Suzanski (Media Officer) 0429 990 218

Cortona Resources MD Peter van der Borgh Speaks at Excellence in Mining 2010 in Sydney

Peter van der Borgh BSc (Hons), FGS has worked in the Australian exploration and mining sectors for over 20 years, initially as a prospector in Victoria and Western Australia (gold), and Queensland (precious gemstones). Peter gained a First Class Honours Degree at Kingston University, London, before joining a research team at the University of Western Australia studying the geological controls on the formation and settings of Giant Ore Deposits (the 'GODS' project).

Peter achieved exploration success in Western Australia and Turkey prior to becoming an Exploration Manager with Legend Mining Ltd, where his geological modeling and targeting produced near-mine and regional discoveries. In July 2005 Peter targeted and acquired the North Monger Project, which led to the formation of Cortona Resources and its successful listing on the ASX in March 2006. Recently, on Cortona's behalf, he engineered the successful acquisition of the gold assets of Moly Mines.

Peter combines a range of conceptual and practical exploration skills with a high level of enthusiasm that will be a major benefit to the Company. He is also a Director of Globe Uranium Limited and a Fellow of the Geological Society.

View the Videocast here:

About Cortona Resources Limited

Cortona Resources Limited (ASX:CRC) is an emerging Australian gold company with a portfolio of advanced gold projects in New South Wales and Western Australia. The Company is focused on the exploration and development its 100%-owned Majors Creek Project, located 60km east of Canberra in New South Wales, where it is currently undertaking a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) on the Dargues Reef Gold deposit (1.44Mt @ 6.2g/t gold for 286,000oz).

Majors Creek was the largest historic alluvial goldfield in NSW producing more than 1.25 million ounces. The Dargues Reef deposit is expected to be the CompanyÔÇÖs first operating mine following positive scoping study results indicating average annual production of 45,000 ounces over an initial mine life of 5 years.

CortonaÔÇÖs multi-pronged plan is to progress the Dargues Reef DFS in conjunction with aggressive near- mine and regional exploration programs to underpin a long-term gold business.


Cortona Response To MCCLC_Q2_July10

Mr Bill Waterhouse 
Chairman, Majors Creek Community Liaison Committee 
Majors Creek 
Dear Bill 
We are  in  the process of  finalizing  the Environmental Assessment  (EA), which will be  lodged with  the 
Department  of  Planning  (DoP)  before  the  end  of  July.  DoP  will  then  circulate  the  EA  to  the  vested 
Departments, Agencies and Council for adequacy. If any amendments are required it will come back to 
us┬á to┬ámake┬á the┬ánecessary┬á changes┬ábefore┬á reÔÇÉlodging.┬áAt┬á that┬á stage┬áwe┬áwould┬áanticipate┬á the┬áEA┬ábeing┬á
ready  for Public Display. We are advised  that  the process  from  initial  lodgement  to Public Display will 
take from 6 to 10 weeks depending on the number and extent of the modifications required. As we have 
previously  pointed  out,  the  EA will  contain  detailed  findings  of many  of  the  aspects  that  your  latest 
questions relate to. 
In┬á the┬ámeantime┬á I┬áprovide┬á you┬áwith┬áCortonaÔÇÖs┬á responses┬á to┬á your┬áCommitteeÔÇÖs┬áquestions,┬áproviding┬áas┬á
much detail as I can at this stage. 
We are planning to present the final project description and findings of the environmental studies at a 
Community  Information session prior  to  the document going on display. We  think  the best way  to do 
this is via a static poster display in the village hall over a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. We will 
be accompanied by a range of expert consultants to explain the findings and answer any questions. 
Finally, once the EA goes on display we will make copies available to the Community to enable people to 
provide submissions within the required timeframe. 
Kind regards 
Peter van der Borgh 
Managing Director 
Cortona Resources Limited  

Please See attached document for full details
If you have trouble accessing this file Let me know - gordon@majorscreek.org.au

Council Meeting - 4/11 - Item 10.3. Dargues Reef Gold Project

PDF icon Item 10.3. Dargues Reef Gold Project1.68 MB

Big Island Mining Pty Ltd has lodged a major project application and environmental assessment(EA) under part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for the extraction of up to 354 000t of ore per year from an underground gold mine, together with construction and operation of associated infrastructure, including a temporary waste rock emplacement, run-of mine pad, processing plant, tailings storage facility, site access road and ancillary infrastructure.

The EA was publicly notified from 29 September to 1 November 2010. This report presents a
submission on the project. Council has been given an extension to 5 November 2010 to lodge the submission.

Dargues Gold Mine Newsletter 02 - June 2013

PDF icon DGM Monthly Newsletter 02 - June 2013987.73 KB

Dargues Gold Mine Newsletter 03 - July 2013

Dargues Gold Mine Progress Photos – Fifth Edition (Sep 2013)

Dargues Gold Mine Progress Photos – Fourth Edition (June 2013)

Dargues Gold Mine Vacancies

The Dargues Gold Mine is scheduled to commence development in 2013 with gold production scheduled to commence in 2014.


The project is located approximately 60km southeast of Canberra, 13km south of Braidwood and immediately north of the village of Majors Creek, and is the first significant new gold mine to be permitted in NSW in over almost 10 years.

Experienced and qualified candidates are required for the following roles and areas:

  • General Manager
  • Mining Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Environment
  • Processing Manager
  • Geologists
  • Mill
  • Maintenance
  • OHS
  • Mine Operations
  • And much more....


Register your interest now:

Email: recruiting@unitymining.com.au
Human Resources Department
Henty Gold Limited
PO Box 231
Tasmania, 7467

Dargues Reef Feasibility Study Continues

Since the 1850s, gold has been an integral part of the Braidwood districtÔÇÖs heritage and
identity. Cortona ResourcesÔÇÖ proposed Dargues Reef mining operation, which has been
five years in the making, presents a major opportunity for the region.

Managing Director of Cortona Resources, Peter van der Borgh believes if the project is
approved, the considerable Capital investment and projected revenues will make it one of
the biggest undertakings the Palerang Local Government Area has ever seen.

ÔÇ£The project will deliver significant investment and is expected to inject millions of dollars into the local economy each year. We anticipate there will be numerous positive flow-on effects for the region starting with road and power upgrades for people in Majors Creek and Araluen,ÔÇØ Mr van der Borgh said.

ÔÇ£Dargues Reef will create between 60 and 80 new permanent jobs, and for many of these
we will give preference to people from surrounding communities. The mine will provide
training for employees who will develop skills of value beyond the project.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£We also envisage opportunities for local service providers, cottage industries and
tourism,ÔÇØ Mr van der Borgh added.

The Definitive Feasibility Study for the project is ongoing, with the collation of an
Environmental Assessment almost complete.

Cortona will be hosting informal information sessions on Friday 13th
and Saturday 14th of August at the Majors Creek Community Hall.
With the Environmental Assessment expected to go on public exhibition around mid-September, this is an opportunity for the local community to find out more about the project, look at the plans and speak to the Environmental Assessment team.

Representatives from Cortona will also be on hand to answer questions and collect the
communityÔÇÖs feedback. All are welcome to attend.

Dargues Reef Gold Project (10_0054)

The development of underground gold mining and processing operations. The proposed mine would produce up to 354,000 tonnes of ore a year for a period of up to 5 years. This ore would be transported from the mine by truck. See attached Environmental Assessment for further details) .

Derelict Mine Investigation, Major's Creek, NSW, Sampling & analysis stream waters & sediments - 1999

There is a community perception that mining at Major's Creek may have led to contamination of streams by heavy metals which pose a threat to riverine ecosystems.

The survey described in this report aims to identify chronic metal contamination of stream water and sediments by eroding tailings deposits or other mine waste or workings.

Sampling did not include old Battery sites which could reasonably be the subject of a separate survey. This report discusses and presents results of previous sampling and analysis of water and sediments from Spring & Major's Creek and further sampling in May 1999.

Info on the flotation reagent ( "PAX" - EA Part 2 Page 2 - 28 )

Priority Existing Chemical Assessment Reports

PEC No. 5

Sodium Ethyl Xanthate


Sodium ethyl xanthate (CAS No 140-90-9) was declared a priority existing chemical by the Minister of Industrial Relations by notice in the Chemical Gazette of 6 July 1993.

Importers of sodium ethyl xanthate were obliged under section 55 of the Commonwealth Government's Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 to apply for its assessment. Sodium ethyl xanthate is not manufactured in Australia.

Information for assessment was obtained from the applicants, end-users and scientific literature.


ICI Australia Pty Ltd
1 Nicholson Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Quantum Chemicals Pty Ltd

Suite 4

21 Kitchener Parade

Bankstown NSW 2200

Mineral and Chemical Traders Pty Ltd

59 Parraween Street

Cremorne NSW 2090

Redox Chemicals Pty Ltd

30&endash;32 Redfern Street

Wetherill Park NSW 2164

Mintrade Pty Ltd

Level 1

14 Edmonstone Street,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Renison Limited

Renison Tin Division

P O Box 20

Zeehan TAS 7469

Chemical identity

Sodium ethyl xanthate is listed in the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances as carbonodithioic acid, O-ethyl ester, sodium salt, and has a molecular weight of 141.14.

The chemical Abstract Services Number for sodium ethyl xanthate is 140-90-9.


Sodium ethyl xanthate is used in the mining industry as a flotation agent in the separation of metal sulphides. It is mainly used for the separation of copper, nickel, lead, gold and zinc. During use, the solid sodium ethyl xanthate is mixed with water to form a dilute aqueous solution, and concentrations in the order of 10% are used. The pH of the aqueous solutions range typically from 7 to 11. Sodium ethyl xanthate is not manufactured in Australia and approximately 2,500 tonnes - in powder and pellet form - is imported per annum.

Physical and chemical properties

Sodium ethyl xanthate is a pale yellow amorphous powder with a disagreeable odour due to the presence of carbon disulphide. It has a melting point of 182&endash; 256┬░C, specific gravity 1.263, water solubility 450 g/L at 10┬░C and is non-volatile at 25┬░C. The chemical hydrolyses very rapidly under acidic conditions and is stabilised by high pH conditions. It dissociates totally under pH 9. Sodium ethyl xanthate is hygroscopic and reacts with water to form carbon disulphide, ethyl alcohol, sodium carbonate and trithiocarbonate.

Carbon disulphide is the major decomposition product and has a low autoignition point (99┬░C) and is highly flammable. The physico-chemical properties of carbon disulphide are: odour threshold 0.02 ppm (perception in humans); boiling point 46.5oC; specific gravity 2.1 g/L; vapour pressure 40 kPa; flash point -30oC (closed cup); and is explosive at 1.3&endash;50% v/v in air. It reacts strongly with oxidising agents.

Decomposition of xanthates

Sodium ethyl xanthate is stable if stored under dry, cool conditions. However, exposure of solid xanthates to moisture and heat causes decomposition and formation of carbon disulphide. The heat generated by hydration or decomposition could raise the temperature to the auto-ignition point of carbon disulphide.

Xanthates decompose in aqueous solution by dissociation, oxidation and hydrolysis. Hydrolytic decomposition is the main reaction in alkaline solutions while the other two reactions occur in acidic solutions. Sodium ethyl xanthate is used in the flotation process in alkaline conditions, and therefore the main reaction is hydrolytic decomposition and the major decomposition product is carbon disulphide.

Decomposition of xanthates is accelerated at high concentrations and raised temperatures and is also rapid at pH below 7 and decreases as the pH increases.

Hazard assessment Animal toxicological data

Assessment of sodium ethyl xanthate revealed a lack of published and unpublished toxicity data. The limited and generally poor quality toxicity data creates difficulties in predicting potential human health effects. Toxicity data for other xanthates was included in the assessment for completeness.

Sodium ethyl xanthate as a 10% solution at a pH of 10.5-11 has an oral LD50 of 730 mg/kg in mice. The target sites are the central nervous system, liver and the spleen. Oral LD50 for other xanthates in mice range from 411&endash;583 mg/kg and in rats from 1000-2000 mg/kg.

The target sites for the adverse effects of potassium butyl xanthate both after single and repeated oral administration were the central nervous system, liver and kidneys indicating similar target organs for the various xanthates.

Sodium ethyl xanthate powder has a dermal LD50 <1000 mg/kg in rabbits and is a moderate skin irritant. A 10% solution is not a skin irritant.

Sodium ethyl xanthate as a powder causes mild to moderate eye irritation in the rabbit, while it is not an irritant in the diluted form (10% solution).

Inhalation of potassium amyl xanthate in a 30-day study produced adverse effects on the liver in dogs, rats and mice. The other affected organs were the kidneys in rats and the central nervous system in mice.

The target sites for sodium ethyl xanthate, and other xanthates are the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. The adverse effects seen in the toxicity studies could be due to the xanthates themselves, their decomposition products or a combination of both.

Human health effects

Limited human health effects information was available for assessment. Contract workers at one mining site reported nausea and residents in the vicinity of a mine using sodium ethyl xanthate complained of headache, dizziness, nausea and foul odour. A chemical leak during transport of sodium ethyl xanthate led to six railway workers being hospitalised after inhaling fumes.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (1994) has summarised a report by Rakhimova (1973) of acute exposure of a worker who opened a tank containing sodium ethyl xanthate. The worker lost consciousness and was removed from the work site. On revival he was restless, vomited and had convulsive twitching of muscles in his arms and legs. He complained of difficult breathing, teary eyes and hoarseness and later developed light sensitivity and fluid accumulation in the eyelids and eye discharge.


In accordance with the health effects criteria detailed in the National Commission's Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances (Approved Criteria), sodium ethyl xanthate is classified as 'harmful' by the oral and dermal routes and as an eye and skin irritant. The 10% solution of sodium ethyl xanthate is classified as harmful by the oral route and is not a skin and eye irritant. Based on the classification of its health effects and in accordance with the Approved Criteria sodium ethyl xanthate is considered to be a hazardous substance.

The data were insufficient to classify sodium ethyl xanthate for other health hazards such as chronic effects, acute inhalational effects, carcinogenicity and mutagenicity.

According to the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code) sodium ethyl xanthate is classified as a dangerous good, Class 4.3, that is, substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases.

Carbon disulphide

Carbon disulphide is a dangerous fire and explosion hazard.

Carbon disulphide can be absorbed by inhalation, through the skin and by the oral route. Acute exposure to high concentrations (500 to 1000 ppm) may result in psychosis and narcosis. Carbon disulphide vapour is a severe irritant to the eyes, skin and respiratory system, and the liquid may cause burns.

Repeated exposure to carbon disulphide vapour can adversely affect the central and peripheral nervous systems, including weakening of the leg muscles and damage to the peripheral and cerebral arteries. Carbon disulphide has been shown to contribute towards coronary heart disease in exposed workers, and severe effects on the retina of the eye have been observed. Hearing defects in workers exposed to carbon disulphide have also been reported.

Adverse effects on the reproductive system of workers has been noted. Menstrual disorders have been observed in female workers exposed to carbon disulphide levels below 3 ppm for 3 years. Decreased libido was observed in earlier studies while a later study revealed changes in sperm morphology when carbon disulphide levels were believed to be about 13&endash;26 ppm but with excursions up to 250 ppm.

Data from animal studies are consistent with the observed human health effects.

Exposure assessment Occupational exposure

Sodium ethyl xanthate is not manufactured in Australia and hence occupational exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate is limited to workers involved in the transport, use and storage of the chemical. A number of mines in Australia use sodium ethyl xanthate or one of the other alkyl xanthates.

Transport and storage

Sodium ethyl xanthate in pellet or powder form is usually imported in 110&endash;120 kg steel drums with an inner polyethylene liner or recently in plastic bulker bags containing 500&endash;700 kg. The quality of the packaging of the chemical varies from batch to batch.

Conditions of storage vary at different mine sites from a fully enclosed area to a large storage shed with only three walls. At some sites storage is in a covered area with only a roof and no walls.

One or two workers are involved in the handling and storage of drums at each mining site. There is the greatest potential for worker exposure to xanthate powder or pellets and carbon disulphide vapour during transport and storage if the drums or bulker bags are damaged or not adequately sealed. Sodium ethyl xanthate in contact with moisture produces carbon disulphide.

Mixing process

There is a potential for high worker exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate and carbon disulphide, during the mixing process, depending on the degree of automation. During tipping of the drums there is a likelihood of dust generation and spillage of the powder or pellets which could lead to worker exposure.

Storage of solution

Potential for exposure during storage of the solution is limited as transfer to the storage and header tanks are through closed pipes. Inhalation exposure could occur due to leaks in the pipes.


Sodium ethyl xanthate solution enters the flotation cells through closed pipes via a head tank. The solution is gravity fed via control valves and flow meters to addition points within flotation cells. Workers involved in checking flows, the head tank or in adjusting and monitoring the pulp levels in the flotation process could be exposed to the chemical or carbon disulphide.


Storage tanks must be cleaned regularly due to the build up of sludge. The frequency of cleaning storage tanks varies from once every three months to once or twice a year at different mines. There is a high potential for dermal and inhalational exposure to both sodium ethyl xanthate and carbon disulphide during the cleaning of storage tanks. However, workers generally follow standard operating procedures for working in a confined space including use of personal protective equipment.

Dermal exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate solution and inhalation exposure to carbon disulphide could occur during repair or replacement of the plumbing system. Around 20 personnel are involved in general maintenance work for approximately 1 hour/week.

Sampling procedure

Dermal and inhalation exposure may occur to personnel involved in the collection of samples or analysis of sodium ethyl xanthate.

Incident reports

Two transport incidents have been reported in Alice Springs. One in May 1993 involved a chemical leak at the railway station. Six workers were hospitalised after inhalation of toxic fumes and 100 people were evacuated. The cargo consisted of 56 drums of sodium ethyl xanthate. Some of the drums had lost their lids and the inner plastic lining had ripped due to the inferior quality of the packaging and mechanical damage.

In another incident in 1984 approximately 20 steel drums of sodium ethyl xanthate had been loaded into a freight container together with medical equipment and supplies. On arrival of the container at its destination in Alice Springs it was found that a considerable quantity of the sodium ethyl xanthate dust had escaped from the drums and had permeated the medical equipment and supplies.

Fire incidents involving sodium ethyl xanthate have also been reported. In January 1994 a trial shipment of sodium ethyl xanthate packaged in 700 kg plastic bulker bags caught fire in the storage area at a mining site. The fire spread rapidly and three operations personnel and one fireman were affected by fume inhalation and hospitalised overnight. Most of the bulk sodium ethyl xanthate was severely affected by fire.

The fire was observed to spread quickly from bag to bag, whereas only one drum containing sodium ethyl xanthate in the area caught fire. This highlights a major problem with the use of bulker bags in contrast to drums. The material continued to reignite and was disposed of immediately. The company concluded that the most likely cause was ineffective sealing of the inner bag due to manual tying of the inner plastic bag leading to the escape of carbon disulphide and the likely cause of ignition was a spark associated with a forklift unloading steel drums at the time of the fire. However, spontaneous combustion cannot be ruled out.

In November 1994, a shipment of 80 bulker bags each containing 700 kg of potassium amyl xanthate was unloaded for testing at Fremantle the first port of call, following the issue of a product alert by the manufacturer. The containers were taken by road to a transport yard at O'Connor after two days at the Fremantle port to facilitate product testing (temperature measurement). Two of the bulker bags that were found to be "smoking" and another that was found to be unstable were placed in an empty freight container and isolated. The potassium amyl xanthate was allowed to burn under controlled conditions. The cause of the fire has not been determined. The likely cause may be spontaneous combustion following release of carbon disulphide.

In another incident, residents living in the vicinity of a mine using sodium ethyl xanthate complained of headache, dizziness, nausea and foul odour. Other symptoms reported were eye irritation, sore throat and impaired breathing. The ill effects were reported up to three kilometres from the mine site. The situation was thought to have been aggravated by the weather conditions. Atmospheric monitoring for carbon disulphide showed that the levels were below 10 ppm.

Atmospheric monitoring

Atmospheric monitoring for sodium ethyl xanthate is not carried out at the mine sites where it is used and there is no recognised methodology for sodium ethyl xanthate. Random instantaneous monitoring for carbon disulphide is carried out at some of these mine sites. However, very limited monitoring data was provided for this assessment.

The exposure standard for carbon disulphide recommended by the National Commission is a time weighted average (TWA) of 10 ppm. From the limited data submitted for assessment it appears that carbon disulphide levels at the mine sites are below the TWA. However, instantaneous samples using detector tubes indicate that at times, short-term excursions above 10 ppm occur in the mixing area during mixing activity at some sites. High levels were also recorded in the containers in ship holds on the arrival of sodium ethyl xanthate at the ports. The monitoring data indicate that there is the potential for exposure to high levels of carbon disulphide during mixing and transport. However, the data were inadequate to demonstrate how widespread this problem is and whether there is the potential for exposure in other areas or activities.

Public exposure

The public is unlikely to be exposed to sodium ethyl xanthate through its use as a flotation agent in the mining industry.

Since the compound decomposes and the major product is carbon disulphide, there exists some potential for the contamination of the immediate atmosphere which may impact on public health. This risk is minimised by the use of adequate transport and engineering controls, such as during transport incidents. Release of the hazardous degradation products may also result from the decomposition of residual amounts of sodium ethyl xanthate which remain in the aqueous phase in the tailings slurry, which is discharged to a tailings dam. However, such dams are typically located on remote sites and the residual concentrations of sodium ethyl xanthate are expected to be low.

Risk assessment Occupational health

Health effects data indicate that dermal exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate should be avoided, the generation of dust minimised and situations leading to the formation of carbon disulphide avoided.

Situations which are likely to present the greatest risk to workers are:


direct skin contact with sodium ethyl xanthate powder or pellets;

inhalational exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate dust;

direct skin contact with carbon disulphide;

inhalational exposure to carbon disulphide vapour; and

conditions which are conducive to carbon disulphide flammability.

High levels of worker exposure to both sodium ethyl xanthate and carbon disulphide may occur during the mixing process, clean up of spills, maintenance of equipment and cleaning of tanks. Adequate engineering controls, safe work practices and use of personal protective equipment would reduce risk to low levels.

Potential for fire is high during transport and storage if packaging is inadequate or damaged. The presence of moisture can lead to the formation of carbon disulphide, which is highly volatile and readily released at temperatures above 20oC.

Public health risk

When used as a flotation agent in the mining industry, the potential for public exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate is low. However, the compound readily decomposes releasing carbon disulphide and there may be some public exposure to carbon disulphide, particularly in the case of accidental spillage during transport. To minimise exposure to the public emergency procedures for the containment and clean-up of accidental spills should be followed.

Based on the available information and provided that appropriate controls on release are in place and transport packaging is adequate, sodium ethyl xanthate should not present a significant risk to public health.

Environmental assessment Environmental fate

Sodium ethyl xanthate used in flotation will mainly be retained on floated ore particles, and subsequently destroyed during the drying process. Hydrolysis will be the main factor determining the environmental fate of minor residues associated with the tailings. Sodium ethyl xanthate is hydrolytically unstable when exposed to acidic conditions, such as found in tailings dams.

All Australian mines currently operating concentrators have tailings dams, where effluents from flotation, spills and equipment cleaning are discharged to settle, dry and consolidate. Therefore, sodium ethyl xanthate is not expected to contaminate the Australian environment. Most of the sodium ethyl xanthate used in flotation will be retained on sulphide minerals and destroyed when these are dried after flotation. Minor residues that remain associated with the tailings slurry will be destroyed by hydrolysis in tailings dams.

Environmental effects

Little appears to be known on the avian toxicity of xanthates. However avian exposure to residues in tailings dams is not expected to elicit adverse effects as residues are low (in the order of 1 ppm) and no effect levels in rodents are two orders of magnitude higher.

Aquatic toxicity data for sodium ethyl xanthate are variable, reflecting the unstable nature of the substance. High toxicity to fish and invertebrates is evident, particularly when test organisms are continuously exposed under flow-through conditions. Mortality has been observed at concentrations extending below 1 ppm.

Environmental risk

Simple calculations indicate that xanthate levels in the tailings slurry are likely to be in the order of 1 ppm, consistent with measured values from Canadian operations. Therefore, concentrations of sodium ethyl xanthate likely to be found in the tailings slurry may be toxic to aquatic fauna. Such waste streams should therefore not be discharged to waterways.

When suitable precautions are taken to avoid entry of tailings to waterways, the environmental risk of sodium ethyl xanthate can be described as minimal in view of the low environmental exposure and limited persistence.

Risk management Hazard communication

Material Safety Data Sheets were assessed and indicated that some were below the standard considered appropriate. The data found to be inadequate in some of the MSDS were:


inconsistency in the United Nations number;

summary of the health effects had general statements with no supporting data;

exposure standard for carbon disulphide was expressed as threshold limit value instead of time weighted average; and

control measures were described by standard phrases, such as adequate ventilation instead of more specific guidance.

The labels provided in the assessment package were considered inadequate as they did not contain risk or safety phrases, first aid or emergency procedures. They complied with the requirements of the ADG Code.

Information to workers on the safe handling of chemicals is provided at induction through competency based training programs. The training programs include information on the adverse health effects of chemicals, safe handling procedures, interpretation of air monitoring results and MSDS and selection, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment.

Control measures

End users of sodium ethyl xanthate have implemented various control measures to minimise worker exposure. The control measures include isolation of the storage area, automation of the mixing process and local exhaust ventilation above the mixing tank where dust may be generated. Personal protective equipment such as chemically impervious protective overalls, long sleeve gloves, full face respirators with organic filter are worn by workers who are likely to be exposed to sodium ethyl xanthate or carbon disulphide. Workers entering the tanks for cleaning, generally follow standard operating procedures for working in a confined space and use the necessary personal protective equipment.

Emergency procedures

Most mine sites have clearly written emergency procedures and some companies have this information included in the training package for personnel. However, the fire incident at a Mt Isa mining site highlighted the failure to implement written emergency procedures even though the workers were provided with training at induction.


According to the ADG Code, xanthates are assigned to class 4.3, that is, substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases, and Packaging Group II. Under ADG Code Class 4, substances may be packaged by any suitable method, provided that the requirements of paragraph 5.9.4 are met. According to paragraph 5.9.4, if packed in drums, then the removable head type may be used and the chemical should be packaged under an inert dry gas in a hermetically sealed container.

At least four of the incidents reported over the last two years have revealed deficiencies in packaging. Specific problems which have been encountered with the packaging are:


the lids of drums working loose during transportation and carbon disulphide given off; and

carbon disulphide release from bulker bags during transportation and storage.

These packaging problems led to the hospitalisation of several workers and in one incident the serious threat of fire to persons and property. The incidents highlight the need for a thorough investigation of packaging and in particular whether packaging meets the requirements of the ADG Code and, if so, whether there is need for change in the requirements.

Regulatory controls Exposure standard

An exposure standard for sodium ethyl xanthate has not been assigned by the National Commission, or any other country. It is not recommended that an exposure standard for sodium ethyl xanthate be developed by the National Commission.

Xanthates in the presence of heat or moisture decompose and under the conditions of storage and use the major decomposition product is carbon disulphide. The national exposure standard for carbon disulphide in Australia is a TWA of 10 ppm with a skin notation which indicates that significant absorption occurs through the skin.

Several mining sites randomly measure atmospheric levels of carbon disulphide. The limited monitoring data indicates that there were some short-term excursions over 10 ppm on a few occasions in the mixing areas. Monitoring at all mining sites was by random instantaneous sampling and an adequate and detailed assessment of exposure could not be made on the information provided.

Health surveillance

Currently the extent of health care provided to the workers in Australian mines differs at the different mines. Most mine sites have no formal health surveillance programs for workers exposed to sodium ethyl xanthate or other xanthates. No adverse health effects have been reported in workers in the data submitted for assessment except at one mine site where some contract workers complained of nausea probably due to the odour of the decomposition products.

It is recommended that sodium ethyl xanthate not be considered for addition to schedule 3 of the National Commission's National Model Regulations for the Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances as no adverse health effects are expected under the current conditions of use. However, under these regulations, employers will need to provide health surveillance in workplaces where assessment shows that exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate may result in a substance-related health effect.


Sodium ethyl xanthate is used widely in the mining industry in Australia as a flotation agent. The toxicological data available on xanthates, including sodium ethyl xanthate, is limited. The main health hazards of sodium ethyl xanthate are irritation of the skin and eyes and dermal toxicity. In acute oral and dermal studies the chemical causes adverse effects on the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.

Sodium ethyl xanthate readily decomposes at high temperatures and in the presence of moisture to evolve carbon disulphide. Carbon disulphide has a low autoignition temperature and is highly flammable and explosive. Carbon disulphide also produces adverse health effects.

Packaging of solid sodium ethyl xanthate presents a major risk to workers during transport and storage. To minimise carbon disulphide production, it is important to ensure packaging minimises exposure to heat and moisture. Defective packaging, such as loose lids on steel drums and loosely tied or damaged bulker bags can lead to exposure to solid xanthate and increased production of carbon disulphide. In addition, transporting the chemical in large packages, such as bulker bags, increases the risk of autoignition and flammability. Several incidents have highlighted these packaging problems. Improvements to packaging should be investigated, particularly in the use of bulker bags.

Occupational exposure during use to solid sodium ethyl xanthate and carbon disulphide is expected to be low as the process is generally isolated and automated and the chemical is used in low concentrations. The most likely areas for exposure are during the mixing process and during cleaning of storage tanks and other maintenance work. A range of control measures have been implemented to minimise exposure at the different mine-sites. The atmospheric monitoring data submitted were of poor quality making it difficult to assess the adequacy of controls.

Sodium ethyl xanthate is unlikely to present a risk to the public.

Sodium ethyl xanthate is highly toxic to aquatic fauna. Ore tailings containing xanthate residues should therefore not be discharged to waterways.

Sodium ethyl xanthate is currently unlikely to present a risk to the environment as Australian mines do not discharge ore tailings directly into waterways because of the severe detrimental consequences of such practices on stream ecology, irrespective of xanthate content.

Recommendations Classification

In accordance with the health effects criteria detailed in the National Commission's Approved Criteria and based on the information available, sodium ethyl xanthate should be classified by manufacturers and importers as 'harmful' by the oral and dermal routes and as an eye and skin irritant. Based on the classification of its health effects and in accordance with the Approved Criteria,31 sodium ethyl xanthate is considered to be a hazardous substance.

Based on animal studies, 10% solution of sodium ethyl xanthate is classified as harmful by the oral route but not a skin and eye irritant.

According to the ADG Code sodium ethyl xanthate should be classified as a dangerous good, Class 4.3, that is, substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases.

Provision of information

As sodium ethyl xanthate is a hazardous substance, employers and suppliers should be aware of their obligations to provide information, such as MSDS and labels, about the hazards of sodium ethyl xanthate. Details of these obligations, consistent with employers general duty of care, are provided in the National Model Regulations to Control Workplace Hazardous Substances.

Material Safety Data Sheets

The National Commission's National Code of Practice for the Preparation of Material Safety Data Sheets provides appropriate guidance to prepare MSDS.

A survey of the MSDS for sodium ethyl xanthate indicated that some were below the standard considered appropriate under this code of practice. It is recommended that manufacturers and importers review and upgrade MSDS in accordance with the National Code of Practice for the Preparation of Material Safety Data Sheets, and in particular ensure that the:


correct UN number is included in the MSDS;

information on the use of the chemical is provided;

hazardous ingredients and their proportions are listed, even if present as impurities;

supporting data for the health effects are stated. If no human data are available it should be stated. Animal data should be summarised and the species and route of exposure stated; and

summary of health effects of carbon disulphide is included as exposure is possible during use of xanthates.


The National Code of Practice for the Labelling of Workplace Substances provides standards for the labelling of workplace hazardous substances.

As all labels were found inadequate, it is recommended that labels be reviewed, upgraded and, in addition to the requirements of the ADG Code, should include the risk and safety phrases, first aid procedures, emergency procedures and reference to the MSDS in accordance with the National Code of Practice for the Labelling of Workplace Substances. Consistent with the classification the following risk and safety phrases are recommended:

Risk phrases


Harmful in contact with skin and if swallowed


Irritating to eyes


Irritating to skin

R15, 29

Contact with water liberates highly flammable and toxic gases.

Safety phrases


Avoid contact with skin and eyes.

S36, 37, 39

Wear suitable protective clothing, gloves and eye/face protection.


Keep in a cool well ventilated place.

Training and education

Workers potentially exposed to sodium ethyl xanthate need to be trained in safe work practices to be followed in the handling, storage and transportation of the chemical. The workers should be trained in the procedures to be followed in the case of an emergency, as experience in fires in mines using sodium ethyl xanthate have shown that the fire spreads rapidly, especially when bulker bags are present. Training provided at induction should be reinforced at regular intervals, especially the emergency procedures so that workers are familiar with the procedures and can act quickly in an emergency situation.


The most significant risk to workers and the public is through ineffective or inappropriate packaging of solid sodium ethyl xanthate, in both drums and bulker bags. Problems in packaging have led to the formation and release of carbon disulphide, causing fires and adverse health effects in humans.

Data on the self combustion of sodium ethyl xanthate&emdash;particularly on the interaction of parameters such as temperature, humidity, moisture content and package size&emdash;is not available. Therefore, it is difficult to predict situations where self-combustion may occur. It is recommended that factors affecting self-combustion should be accurately assessed by appropriate scale-down tests. These tests should be carried out by manufacturers and importers and a testing plan provided to the Director Chemical Assessment within six months of publication of this report.

The release of carbon disulphide from packages of sodium ethyl xanthate should be eliminated as far as possible. It is recommended that monitoring for carbon disulphide by the manufacturer before dispatch and by the importer on receipt of the consignment be undertaken routinely. Monitoring of carbon disulphide should be introduced as soon as possible and the results of this monitoring should be available for inspection on request. A report on implementation of this recommendation should be provided by manufacturers and importers to the Director Chemical Assessment within 12 months of publication of this report. It is recommended that the moisture content of packaged sodium ethyl xanthate is kept to a minimum. Specifications for the moisture content for each batch should be supplied by the manufacturer.

Packaging should ensure that damage does not occur under normal transport conditions and that carbon disulphide is not released during transport and storage. It is recommended that manufacturers and importers arrange with the relevant competent authority, or suitable competent person, to carry out random inspections of packaging of sodium ethyl xanthate to assess its adequacy and whether it meets the current packaging requirements of the ADG Code.

Exposure standard and atmospheric monitoring

An exposure standard for sodium ethyl xanthate has not been assigned by the National Commission. It is not recommended that an exposure standard for sodium ethyl xanthate be developed by the National Commission. It is recommended that dust levels should be maintained as low as possible in view of the dermal toxicity of sodium ethyl xanthate and the likelihood of carbon disulphide formation. A level of 1 mg/m3 as used by Dow Chemicals is considered appropriate as an operational level.

As atmospheric monitoring of carbon disulphide is currently only undertaken randomly at mining sites it is recommended that more routine procedures be carried out particularly in those areas where exposure is likely to occur such as the mixing area, storage areas, around the stock tanks and around the flotation cells. The frequency of monitoring will depend on the results obtained and can be reduced once it is has been established that control measures are effective and levels do not exceed the current exposure standard for carbon disulphide (10 ppm TWA).

Health surveillance

Sodium ethyl xanthate is widely used in Australia and is hazardous to health. However, it is considered that the chemical does not adversely affect the health of workers under the present conditions of use.

It is recommended that sodium ethyl xanthate not be considered for addition to schedule 3 of the National Commission's National Model Regulations for the Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances. Under regulations introduced in Commonwealth, State or Territory government jurisdictions in accordance with these model regulations, employers will need to provide health surveillance in workplaces where assessment shows that exposure to sodium ethyl xanthate may result in a substance-related health effect.

Environmental protection

To ensure that risk remains low, xanthate use should be restricted to well managed mining operations using tailings dams of appropriate size to prevent entry of flotation effluents to waterways. Direct discharge of xanthates or effluents containing them to waterways is unacceptable.


It is recommended that any further incidents involving sodium ethyl xanthate be notified to the Director Chemical Assessment.

Other xanthates

The uses, adverse health effects and release of carbon disulphide and its associated hazards are similar to all xanthates. The recommendations arising from the assessment of sodium ethyl xanthate would therefore be appropriate to all xanthates.

Taken from

Invitation to comment - Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

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Invitation to comment - Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) is the Australian Government's central piece of environmental legislation. It provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places ÔÇö defined in the EPBC Act as matters of national environmental significance. More about the EPBC Act

Attached are documents relating to The Dargues Reef Mine





o Deep drill intercepts from Dargues Deeps including:

5.7m @ 97.1 g/t gold (3.1oz/t) from 454m

9.9m @ 32.16 g/t Au

12.4m @ 16.35 g/t Au

o Two rigs on site targeting extensions to Main Lode and Bonanza Lode

o JORC resource upgrade expected by Q3 2010

o Application submitted to significantly expand Dargues Mining Lease

o Environmental permitting underway

o Dargues Reef feasibility study to be completed December 2010

o North Monger Project in WA sold for $2.7M cash

To read the full announcement, please click the following link;


Major Project Assessments - Dargues Reef Gold Project (PA 10_0054)

Here is the Web page from the NSW Planning Department, listing the Status of this project.


May - Latest Letter from MCCLC to Cortona

Below we have reproduced the main points sent to Cortona Resources as a result of the last community meeting.

CortonaÔÇÖs previous written response of 4th April 2010 was shared with the community at the well-attended community meeting held on 19th April 2010 and is available elsewhere on this website. You may like to reread the Cortona response to place the questions below ÔÇ£in contextÔÇØ.
The series of questions are placed under the relevant sections of CortonaÔÇÖs letter. They are written to Cortona and reproduced here in the spirit of CortonaÔÇÖs stated commitment to open and honest dialogue and its focus ÔÇ£on designing a mine that is not only economically viable, and meets the requirements of Government, but also has a positive impact on the Majors Creek community, the wider region and the environment.ÔÇØ

The committee realises that some of these questions need to be asked of government agencies and that some of the questions were explored at the Community meeting with the Environmental Defenders Office last month. As discussed with Cortona, the committee is asking that the company gives their ÔÇ£responseÔÇØ or ÔÇ£attitudeÔÇØ to the idea of these questions even if they canÔÇÖt actually answer it in detail.

The Community Liaison Committee is interested in getting CortonaÔÇÖs ÔÇ£angleÔÇØ to these questions.

Once the Cortona response is received we shall circulate it and call a community meeting to determine the next steps.
Yours sincerely,

Bill Waterhouse
Chair, MCLCC

No Cyanide for Majors Creek

Published on Nov 16, 2014

Artplan Videographics

Andrew McIlwain from Unity Mining addresses a public meeting in Majors Creek on Feb 10 2013.

Web sites of possible relevance










Weed Removal Program

"Over the next few weeks (depending on the whether), Cortona will be implementing a weed removal program on their property near Majors Creek Road.

This is part of a sustained effort to remove blackberry and broom, so please donÔÇÖt be alarmed if you see people spraying on the property. The work is being carried out by professional contractors.

Cortona have a strategy in place to regenerate the land and hope it is as successful as our previous weed removal programs."