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Mayor welcomes mine announcement

July 23, 2014

Barrick Gold today received State Government approval to operate the Cowal gold mine for a further five years until 2024.

The long awaited announcement was welcomed by a relieved Bland Shire Mayor, Neil Pokoney, who said the community can now look towards a positive future with a level of certainty.

"This represents a huge boost to our local economy and the broader region in general,” Mayor Pokoney said.

“It provides a level of certainty that is very important for the community. We can now go forward in the knowledge that mining will continue to play an important role in providing greater employment opportunities for locals for some time to come.”

According to the New South Wales Minerals Council, the Cowal gold mine injects more than $35 million into the local economy each year.

The mine directly employs more than 200 staff while more than 130 businesses in the Bland Shire are supported through spending by mining operations.

“Over the last 10 years Barrick Gold has proven themselves to be wonderful corporate citizens supporting many, many community events and activities,” Mayor Pokoney said.

“I am confident that Bland Shire as well as the Shires of Forbes and Lachlan welcome this announcement and are overjoyed at the positive outcomes this decision will generate.”

The community has endured a nervous and frustrating wait since Barrick first lodged the modification application with the State Government in June, 2013, and can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief. Today’s announcement follows months of intense lobbying from Bland Shire Council for a determination.

"We needed to shine a light on our predicament with the Department of Planning and I think we were able to do this successfully because of the representations we made to many in Government and because we received strong media support,” Mayor Pokoney said.

“I would thank our Local Member, Mr Adrian Piccoli and the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural and Regional Affairs, Mr Darryl McGuire for their input and assistance.”

The approval will allow Barrick Gold to extend the existing open cut, within the existing Barrick Gold enclosure, to access additional gold bearing ore adjacent to the existing open pit which will increase the total estimated gold production for the life of the mine to 3.8 million ounces. No changes are proposed to the existing mining lease area, mining method or intensity of annual production.

While buoyed by the announcement, Mayor Pokoney said Council is more committed than ever to attracting new business and industry to the Bland Shire.

“Bland Shire Council will continue its commitment to add to the breadth and depth of industry at the local level,” he said.

“We will continue our efforts to attract new business to our Shire. We will explore every avenue possible to achieve this goal.”