Tiaro Coal CEP Dan Buckley
Tiaro Coal CEP Dan Buckley CONTRIBUTED

Long journey ahead for Tiaro mine

TIARO Coal chief executive Dan Buckley may be optimistic.

But on Tuesday he threw some much-needed cold water on a rumour mill running almost as hot as our record-breaking summer weather.

Widespread rumours of major mining employment starting within weeks to Gympie's north were way ahead of reality, he said.

"I had a call last week from someone wanting a job," he told The Gympie Times from his Sydney office.

"I had to say that we are still going through the assessment processes - environmental, economic and mining."

There remained a long way to go, he said, before the company would reach the stage of major hiring.

It is all still good news, but not the imminent bonanza being spoken of.

"As 2014 progresses, if all the processes we are going through now go well, hopefully by the end of the year we will be in a position to start with the next stage.

"That will include environmental approvals, applying for a mining lease and all the stakeholder issues and consultation processes.

"We're still in the pre-feasibility stage of these processes," he said.

The news coincides with a start, expected soon, on new exploration plans for manganese in the Mary Valley.

Residents say the Upper Amamoor area has previously been mined for manganese, a mineral used in the production of stainless steel, aluminium alloys, ceramic and glass pigments and disposable batteries, among other uses.

Although one of the most common elements in the Earth's crust, commercially viable deposits are not regarded as common.

The near-Gympie area has also recently attracted exploration interest involving a range of minerals, including gold, particularly at Mt Scotchy, near Gunalda.

Other minerals which have been sought in the near-Gympie area in recent times include silver, nickel and other base metals and coal seam gas.

Leases involved in potential mining exploration include areas from Gunalda and Anderleigh to Amamoor and Wolvi.

"We're optimistic but nothing's changed," Mr Buckley said.

"There's a lot to do and we're going through the processes as thoroughly and properly as we can," he said.

Coal exploration plans and activities caused some controversy in 2011, involving areas including Munna Creek, Wolvi and Neerdie.

Mayor Ron Dyne said at the time he was not surprised to see the Gympie region being assessed for a range of mineral exploration activities.

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