23 September 2023

'There's gold in them thar hills': Local mining company receives huge boost

| Michael Murphy
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The hand of a gold prospector in the Australian bush with a gold nugget he found with his metal detector. Photo: iStock/Gilles_Paire.

Historically the Riverina has proved to be a literal gold mine, with Temora, West Wyalong, Adelong and Gundagai among the list of towns that once yielded the precious metal to prospectors.

Gundagai was an important gold mining district in the late 19th century for both reef gold and alluvial river gold, but what are the chances of “striking it rich” today?

NSW exploration company, Australian Gold and Copper (AGC) received a huge boost during the week when it signed an agreement with Delin Mining Group that will ultimately see $10.1 million injected into its program, taking its total cash to around $12 m.

AGC is in the search for gold and copper east of Gundagai near Darbalara and Coolac and at its South Cobar Project near Lake Cargelligo.

Locally based in Orange, AGC released an Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) announcement on Thursday (21 September) that outlined the company’s immediate focus for the additional funds to be its Hilltop target at South Cobar, while also stating that: “Funds raised from the issue of placement shares will also be applied towards advancing AGC’s other NSW projects …”

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This is positive news for the Gundagai and South Cobar projects, which both have multiple drill-ready sites.

Glen Diemar is the managing director of AGC, and while he sees the majority of this new investment being directed towards the South Cobar project over the next 12 months, he is very excited about what it could mean for AGC’s entire portfolio.

“Experts say there is a gross undersupply of copper to meet the demands of net zero emissions by 2050,” he said.

“Mining is not new to the Gundagai region, being one of the oldest gold mining districts of Australia, and we are keen to see the Gundagai region grow through the many benefits to communities that modern mines can bring,” Diemar said.

“We are using modern methods to leverage areas previously explored in the 1980s.”

Having worked at Junee and Illabo for many years, Diemar has a long connection with the Riverina, and it is through working alongside communities the young businessman obtains a sense of satisfaction.

“Our purpose is to grow value in these communities,” he said.

“We have built great relationships with the people in these areas, and there is the possibility to create generational wealth for the towns. West Wyalong and Orange are great recent examples.”

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With South Cobar showing some very promising signs for a major discovery, Diemar drew geological comparisons to that target area and the Gundagai project, stating that they were seeing similar rocks at the Darbalara and Coolac sites, in terms of formation, age and mineralising events.

Gundagai is a historic mining region, with the Prince of Wales and Long Tunnel mines being two productive ventures in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mount Parnassus also has visible signs of past gold seekers, while many nuggets were found in the Spring Flat area during the 1860s.

AGC is a relatively new company; its initial price offering (IPO) on the ASX was in January of 2021.

In a recent interview, Diemar described the state of NSW as a great jurisdiction for mining.

The Gundagai project has an exploration licence that covers 265 sqkm, while the South Cobar project that is centred 15 km west of Lake Cargelligo, covers 1090 sqkm.

AGC’s South Cobar project sits among other significant deposits, such as the Aurelia Metals Cobar mines, which produced 36,000 ounces of gold as well as the critical metals copper, lead and zinc in the 2023 financial year, and Metals Acquisitions’ CSA Copper mine which is the highest-grade copper mine in the world.

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