Current Project Status
The potential for Peak Hill to be developed underground is being re-evaluated as part of an extensive regional exploration program to provide additional ore feed for Tomingley Gold Operations.
Following a 2018 drill program, advanced metallurgical testing is underway to establish whether the ore can be pre-treated to allow processing at TGO. Read the full ASX announcement from 18 October 2018.
Peak Hill Community Newsletter
Contact / Complaints Line
Community Information Line Number: 0427 691733
To make a complaint please call the Community Information Line Number which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are calling for business purposes please call between 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday on 02 6882 2866.
Complaints Register (no complaints were received in the 2021 calendar year)
Peak Hill Gold Mine Q & A
Q. Who/What is Alkane Resources?
Alkane Resources is a gold exploration and production company. Our projects and operations are primarily in central western New South Wales. Alkane listed on the ASX in 1969.
Alkane operated the Peak Hill Gold Mine from 1996-2005. While the site is now substantially rehabilitated, it remains an active Mining Lease. The Resources Regulator, Mining, Exploration and Geoscience and the Environment Protection Authority regulate the site.
Alkane continues to care for and maintain the mine site as an exploration base. We also have other commercial and residential properties in Peak Hill.
In addition, Alkane owns Tomingley Gold Operations. We have a number of exploration tenements between Tomingley and Peak Hill, as well as others stretching from Crookwell to Bodangora and west to Trangie.
Q. Why is Alkane exploring for more gold at Peak Hill?
Over many years Alkane identified a substantial deposit of gold and copper, but exploration to-date has only focused on a small part of this system. Alkane has continued to explore in the region to provide feed for the existing processing plant at Tomingley to benefit the local community and our shareholders.
Q. Will Alkane undertake more mining at Peak Hill?
The town of Peak Hill developed when gold was discovered in 1889 and mined until 1917. There was a hiatus in mining until 1996, when Alkane reopened the Peak Hill Gold Mine and operated it as five open cuts until 2005.
Due to technological advances since 2005 and improved gold price, underground mining at Peak Hill may now be economically viable again, depending on the quality and structure of the remaining ore resource. It may be feasible to extract more ore by extending the mine underground.
To begin assessing the Peak Hill ore resource, in 2018 Alkane drilled at the western edge of the open cut mine, within the existing granted Mining Leases. Ten diamond holes were drilled to a depth of 400m below the historic mine and the extracted cores were subjected to geological analysis and metallurgical testing.
Additional feasibility studies, exploration drilling and a comprehensive environmental assessment would be required before a decision about future mining could be made. NSW Planning and Environment would oversee the environmental assessment, which would include extensive community consultation.
Q. How will Alkane protect local residents and the environment during exploration drilling?
Alkane will work to minimise the impact on Peak Hill residents living near the exploration drilling site – at the northern end of Euchie Street. This includes constructing a 4.5m high ‘noise curtain’ from hay bales. This U-shaped sound-absorbing barrier will partially enclose the drill rig and support vehicles. Vehicles will access the site via Mingelo Street.
On-site consultation with Parkes Shire Council staff has confirmed that the Peak Hill Open Cut Experience can remain open for visitors, throughout the drilling.
Alkane will comply with all environment protection regulations, including ecological rehabilitation of the site when sampling is completed. The hay bales will be recycled as cattle fodder by Alkane’s Toongi Pastoral Company.
Q. What impact will Alkane’s exploration drilling have on groundwater at Peak Hill?
Alkane’s exploration drilling will not cause acidic groundwater from the mine pit to leak into the soil under Peak Hill properties.
The historic, alluvial gold workings under Peak Hill are only a few metres deep, following natural underground watercourses draining off the hill. The groundwater table (aquifer level) in the Peak Hill mine pit is about 60m below the surface on the western edge. There is no connection between the shallow alluvial workings and the pit aquifer at Peak Hill. Alkane’s exploration drilling will not change this situation.
Groundwater associated with gold-bearing rock often naturally contains dissolved iron sulphide (a.k.a.pyrite or fool’s gold). Exposed to air, sulphides oxidise, becoming acidic. Acidic water dissolves metals in the surrounding rock – particularly copper and iron, at Peak Hill. The pit water at Peak Hill Gold Mine is indigo black because of dissolved copper and iron.
Q. Have Peak Hill properties been damaged by Alkane’s operations in the past?
Alkane’s open cut gold mining at Peak Hill (1996-2005) was a drill and blast operation. Operating amongst historic gold diggings and rock types of varying resistance made it extremely difficult to predict blast results with precision. On numerous occasions, the air pressure shockwave or ‘overpressure’ caused by blasting exceeded the government’s very conservative regulatory limits.
This caused understandable community concern. However, the levels of overpressure remained well below levels that could cause damage to properties.
Q.What impact has Alkane had on the environment of Peak Hill?
Over the past 22 years, Alkane has had a positive impact on Peak Hill’s environment, including:
- In 1998 removing 82,776 tonnes of historic mine tailings from three locations east of Euchie Street, Bivana Street and Warrah Street. The tailings were infested with rabbits and African boxthorn and contained elevated levels of arsenic. All three sites were rehabilitated with clean topsoil.
- planting trees and promoting documented increase in biodiversity (bird, mammal and plant species)
- removing two semi-trailer loads of compacted car bodies from the mine site before commencing operations
- cleaning up the mine site and making the workings safe by fencing them, and gifting 4Ha of land and infrastructure to Parkes Council for a waste transfer facility to replace the previous land-fill tip.
Q.What impact has Alkane had on the Peak Hill economy and community life?
Alkane has supported the wellbeing of the Peak Hill community since the mid-1990s. Alkane’s most significant contribution has been in generating jobs and increasing economic activity in Peak Hill. Employment and skills provided by the Peak Hill Gold Mine have transformed lives and supported many families. Peak Hill has also enjoyed ongoing economic benefits from Alkane’s establishment of the tourist mine – one of the most popular attractions in Parkes Shire.
While the mine was operating, Alkane contributed money to Parkes Shire for infrastructure upgrades, street beautification and tourism studies. Some of Alkane’s other community works include:
- upgrading the mains for Peak Hill’s water supply, replacing old lead-lined cast-iron pipes with polypipe;
- upgrading the tennis courts;
- restoring and donating the Southern Cross Hall to the community;
- sponsoring numerous school initiatives and sporting events, the Peak Hill Show, The Gold Rush Carnival, The Open Cut Gallery and the Community Radio Station;
- volunteer contributions to SES and local fire fighting efforts. The PHGM water cart was used to prevent the Carrington Hotel fire from spreading across the town.;
- Financial contributions to Peak Hill doctor’s residence and school infrastructure; and
- providing vendor finance to purchase Alkane owned properties which assisted local individuals and families into home ownership.