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General Manager welcomes Argent Minerals announcement

Bland Shire Council General Manager, Ray Smith has welcomed an announcement from Australian mining company, Argent Minerals, that it plans to accelerate testing at its “West Wyalong Gold project”.

Just a week after Evolution Mining announced it has acquired the Cowal gold mine from Barrick Gold for US$550 million, Argent Minerals Managing Director, David Busch, has spoken publicly about a potential “major discovery” just 37 kilometres to the north.

“Argent Minerals is strongly encouraged by the announcement of a tangible transaction in the precious metals mining space, which could serve as a guide to the value potential for a fully developed asset at the company's West Wyalong Project,” Mr Busch said.

The project has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the Bland Shire.

“The announcement from Argent Minerals is terrific news for the Bland Shire and along with the acquisition of Cowal by Evolution Mining a major show of confidence in our Shire and its untapped potential,” Mr Smith said.

“While we acknowledge there is significant further testing required and other hurdles to negotiate before the West Wyalong Project can potentially become an operational mine, the announcements are a shot in the arm for the local community and paint a positive and prosperous picture for our long term future.”

Mr Smith said Council remains in close contact with Argent Minerals and will eagerly monitor the outcomes of the latest round of testing, which Mr Busch has told Argent shareholders will be accelerated immediately.

“Argent has determined that the porphyry copper-gold target at West Wyalong is to be tested as a priority,” Mr Busch said.

"Prior to drill testing of this target, the area will be surveyed with a high resolution deeply penetrating induced polarisation (IP) survey, to complement the high resolution magnetic survey performed in 2014, and serve as an aid for precision drill hole planning.”

Argent Minerals announced in July last year that an airborne high resolution magnetic survey at the West Wyalong Project had identified a potentially significant porphyry copper-gold target with an interpreted magnetic anomaly spanning 1.4 kilometres in the north-south direction, 800 metres from east to west and extending to depth from 200 metres.

“This is a very exciting development for the West Wyalong Project, placing it on the map as a potentially sizeable Australian porphyry copper-gold target,” Mr Busch said.

“If it is connected to the same structure as the company's Narragudgil Prospect two kilometres to the south east, then Argent may have identified the potential for a major discovery in this rich, fertile area which has produced some of Australia's best copper-gold deposits.”

If the project does progress to become an operational mine, Mr Smith said Council looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with Argent, local industry, business, education and local service providers to ensure a smooth and positive transition into the Bland Shire community.

Meanwhile, in the more immediate future, Mr Smith plans to meet with senior representatives from Evolution Mining in the next few weeks prior to the formal acquisition of the Cowal gold mine.

Since the announcement last week, Mr Smith has written to Evolution Mining Executive Chairman, Jake Klein and made contact with other senior staff to welcome them into the Bland Shire community.

“Council has had an excellent working relationship with the management team at Barrick Cowal and I am confident that we can maintain that relationship with Evolution Mining as the new owners,” Mr Smith said.

“In particular Council warmly welcomes the decision to retain the existing mine workforce which is a great start to providing community confidence in the organisation.

“I have also taken the opportunity to read over Evolution Mining’s Community Relations Policy, Community Principles and its 2013-2014 Community Report and am buoyed by the company’s commitment to the communities in which it operates.”