THE $80 million Mount Morgan Gold-Copper project is "nearing the point of no return".

Rockhampton Regional councillors yesterday signed off on the last local government approval needed for Carbine Resources to retrieve gold, copper and pyrite from the tailings at the historic site.

Seventy direct, local operating jobs, plus a further 120 construction jobs are within arms reach; a mining lease is already in place for the project and heritage approval was granted in May.

An amendment to the environmental approval is the last outstanding government application.

Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow is confident the mine will provide an "important uplift" to the community, which has struggled with employment for 30 years since the mine closed.


"The local community has every right to feel a bit jaded after numerous stories that someone is going to get the mine working again," Cr Strelow said.

"But this is a company that has gone so much further in terms of jumping through the hoops and hurdles to get approvals."

Following the $80 million build, the mine is forecast to inject a further $40 million into the local economy each year throughout its potential 20-year life.


The Mount Morgan Gold - Copper Mine is expected to create opportunities for 180 jobs in the historic town and surrounds.
The Mount Morgan Gold - Copper Mine is expected to create opportunities for 180 jobs in the historic town and surrounds. Carbine Resources

Once operational, about 13 truckloads a day are expected to haul an average 200kt of pyrite per annum to Gladstone via Bouldercombe.

Carbine Resources director Tony James was "tremendously happy" to learn of council's support as he met with Chinese companies to discuss pyrite offtake agreements.

While a construction start date is yet to be determined, Mr James explained securing foreign buyers was one of several processes happening in parallel with government approvals and finalising financiers.

WATCH | Carbine Resources director Tony Williams explains the Mount Morgan Gold - Copper Project




During previous conversations with The Morning Bulletin, Mr James explained pyrite exports could become Central Queensland's ticket to the global trade, with a particular focus on China.

The world's largest pyrite exporter is expected to cease operations from 2018-19.

Mr James said the unique Mount Morgan mine project had community and environmental benefits.

Cr Strelow shared his sentiment.


Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Margaret Strelow has today handed down the 2016/17 draft budget .Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton Regional Council mayor Margaret Strelow. Allan Reinikka ROK09061616abudge

"It's an unusual mine, most mines the concern is about degradation of natural environment, this one will have a benefit once it is finished doing it's job," Cr Strelow said at yesterday's council meeting.

About 90-95% of the work needed for the Copper - Gold mine is Central Queensland based, and Mr James is confident the project is starting to gain some serious momentum.

"Every time we tick a box it gets closer to the end game," Mr James said.

"I am very encouraged, over the next month or two we would like to see some solid progress.

"It's taken a long time to get to where we are now, it's been quite a challenge.

"One of the great things is I have never come across anybody who hasn't been positive... there are environmental and community benefits, so logically it makes sense.

"Everybody is tremendously supportive... we will finally get to the point of no return and then it's go, go, go."

The latest development follows successful negotiations earlier this year to acquire the remaining 25% stake in the project from Raging Bull Mining Pty Ltd (RMB), giving the West Australian company 100% ownership.

Mining operations at the historical site wrapped up after 100 years of mining between 1882 to 1992, but the Mount Morgan Total Mineral Resources was updated to 0.85M gold ounces, 7.9Mt pyrite, and 36kt copper (ASX: August).