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Report to examine the impacts of mine closure

The Lake Cowal Gold Mine Closure Advisory Committee has ordered a report on the current impact of the mine on local real estate, schools and accommodation providers.

Work has commenced on compiling the vital statistical information, which Bland Shire Council and the Mine Closure Advisory Committee (MCAC) will utilise as a vital tool when planning for the eventual closure of the mine.

While the Cowal gold mine currently has State Government approval to operate until 2024, Bland Shire Council General Manager, Ray Smith, said it was important to gather key statistical information now to enable Council to effectively plan for the long term.

“This information will allow Council to put various strategies in place to minimise or offset some of the negative effects the closure of the gold mine could have on the local real estate market, hospitality industry and education providers,” Mr Smith said.

Council has contacted local schools, accommodation providers and realtors seeking information regarding the current utilisation of their services from mine staff and their families to assist with the compilation of the report.

Mr Smith said the co-operation of all the above mentioned providers is crucial for Council to be able to prepare an accurate report and effective response.

“It is a great opportunity for Council to work with our schools, motels and real estate agents to identify some of the potential future issues and put a considered plan in place to build towards a vibrant future,” he said.

“It is our mission to prepare the community for the eventual closure of the mine and put strategies in place to ensure we not only survive but prosper long into the future.”

There are currently 200 permanent employees at the Lake Cowal mine and Barrick is currently undertaking an analysis of employee statistics including residences, age and sex to further assist Council and the MCAC with future planning.

The MCAC was formed earlier this year and comprises senior representatives of Council and Barrick Cowal. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, January 29 when the committee plans to assess the results of the report.