Exploration for minerals such as gold and
metals is a common occurrence across Victoria. When exploration programs are underway, money
is spent in rural communities on a range of services, and these can be an economic boost
to local towns. However, some communities have a negative
perception of minerals exploration. Farmers can sometimes see it as a threat to
their livelihood. And the broader community can see it as conflicting
with local values. I’m a fifth-generation farmer and I believe
that we want to leave this land for the next generation. The first step of course is biosecurity and making sure that we’re not bringing any
weeds and seeds onto the property because certainly we want to leave a property in better
condition than when we came on that property. We want to tell people exactly what it is
that we’re doing, why we’re doing it, when we’re doing it, and that builds up
the trust between ourselves and the community. We rely on that trust of the community to
be out here operating in the first place. It’s really important that support is available
for landholders in discussions with explorers who are seeking to access their land.
This is why the Victorian Government is trialling new land access tools to support landholders
in these discussions. We can deal with a farmer’s needs in terms
of whether he’s lambing or shearing, or whether he’s sowing crops and that sort
of thing, so we’re quite flexible, and we’ll work around what their needs are. Most of the exploration that we do is very low impact soil sampling. You wouldn’t know where they had been unless you actually watched them. They’ve left the sites pretty much undisturbed. It’s really low impact to the environment.
It’s, yeah, they just come and have a look and if it’s there it’s there, if it’s
not it’s not. People often confuse minerals exploration
and mining. They’re very different activities, but both
are closely regulated in Victoria. Mineral exploration that’s what Victoria
was made on really, and it’s here, it’s just got to be found. If we work hand-in-hand and we can ensure that our environment is – for the exploration
process – as least disruptive as we possibly can.