Green light for new mineral exploration

EXPLORE: Prospector Rudy Gomez (pictured) and Cartwheel Minerals have secured state government approvals for mineral exploration at Lake Gairdner.
EXPLORE: Prospector Rudy Gomez (pictured) and Cartwheel Minerals have secured state government approvals for mineral exploration at Lake Gairdner.

Approvals for mineral exploration at Lake Gairdner, 150 kilometres north-west of Port Augusta in the Gawler Ranges, have been finalised by the state government.

The exploration program is being spearheaded by Cartwheel Minerals and Executive Chairman Rudy Gomez, who have secured a Native Title Mining Agreement (NTMA) with the Gawler Ranges Aboriginal Corporation.

This process was started under the former Labor state government, which granted approvals for the project under the Mining Act in July 2017.

Mr Lucas said advice had been received from the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee in requiring the project proponents to enhance the protections to Aboriginal Heritage provided in their NTMA.

"In accordance with the requirements of the Aboriginal Heritage Act, I am now satisfied that satisfactory procedures are in place to deal with Aboriginal Heritage," he said.

"I emphasise that these approvals are confined to exploration. Should any exploration undertaken result in the proponents deciding to proceed to mining, they will have to seek further government assessment of their plans."

Mr Gomez has previously said the Lake Gairdner project could bring 5000 jobs to the Upper Spencer Gulf should minerals such as copper be discovered at the deposit.

"If we find a major deposit like gold or copper we have the technology necessary to extract the metals from the ore without pollution," he said.

"We could choose a venue like Whyalla or Port Augusta for a processing plant, but we do have to find the minerals. That would be great for the Iron Triangle and South Australia in general."​