The Federation Project is a proposed underground mine development located in central-western NSW, approximately 15km south of the Nymagee township and 10km south of Aurelia’s Hera Mine.
High grade lead, zinc and gold mineralisation was discovered at Federation in April 2019. Subsequent surface drilling programs have delineated a substantial gold-lead-zinc-copper-silver mineral deposit. Aurelia is evaluating the development of a satellite underground mine at the Federation site that leverages established infrastructure at the Hera Mine to minimise environmental impacts and allow for the continuation of mining operations in the Nymagee area.
It is estimated that a workforce of approximately 200 – 250 people will support operations, maintenance, and ongoing exploration at the Federation Project.
Aurelia is progressing applications to allow an expansion of the existing Hera accommodation village and development of an exploration decline and associated surface infrastructure at the Federation site.
A State Significant Development (SSD) application for development consent under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 is being prepared for the Federation Project. The development application for a SSD will be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A social impact assessment, including stakeholder engagement, is being prepared for the EIS. The scoping report to obtain the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the EIS will be submitted to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and made publicly available on its website.
The Project’s development consent process will be administered by the DPIE who will place the EIS on public exhibition to allow for stakeholder submissions. The development consent application may be referred to the Independent Planning Commission if objection thresholds are triggered. Aurelia will respond to submissions and, if necessary, amend the EIS so that DPIE can prepare an assessment report for final determination.
Following development consent, a number of secondary approvals and management plans would be required from other government agencies, including mining leases, an environmental protection license, a water access licence, a mining operation plan and a rehabilitation cost estimate.
The Federation Project is amenable to underground mining by longhole stoping methods with backfilling of stope voids. A surface box cut and decline would be used to access the underground workings.
Surface infrastructure at the Federation site is expected to include roads, maintenance workshop and warehouse, hydrocarbon storage, vehicle wash bays, administration building, meals room, surface water management infrastructure, tailings paste plant, ore and waste rock storage pads, explosives magazine, communications tower and ventilation fans.
An internal services corridor comprising a water pipeline, powerline and vehicle track will link the Federation and Hera sites.
The majority of the material mined from the Federation deposit is expected to be transported along Burthong Road to the Hera Mine with potential for some material to be hauled to Aurelia’s Peak Mine near Cobar.
Mineralisation mined from the Federation deposit is expected to be treated at the Hera Mine site, and possibly the Peak Mine, with tailings disposal within an established tailings storage facility (TSF). A portion of the tailings will be returned to the Federation site for backfilling of underground stope voids.
The proposed process flowsheet will recover gold in doré and produce separate copper, lead and zinc concentrates. Base metal concentrates will be trucked to an established rail siding at Hermidale for railing to an ocean port for export to smelters.
Decommissioning of mining related infrastructure and rehabilitation of disturbed areas would occur following the permanent cessation of operations.
The Federation deposit remains open in multiple directions. An intensive infill and extensional drilling program will continue with the aim of both upgrading and expanding the mineral resource.
Regional exploration will also occur in proximity of the Hera Mine and Federation deposit.
In late March 2021 a community information session was held in Nymagee to provide an overview of the proposed Federation Project and seek community feedback. Responses from the session are being used to assess the predicted impacts associated with the Federation Project. A second community information session will be held as the EIS progresses and the local community will be notified about the session via email and a local media advertisement.
As part of community consultation, local residents are also invited to participate in an online survey to share feedback about the Nymagee community and the Federation Project.