Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything we do will be honest, open and will be reviewed by independent experts, government agencies and the community.

These frequently asked questions have been developed by Terramin to provide useful information about the Bird-in-Hand Gold Project. They are intended to provide general knowledge about the Project, however, are not exhaustive. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact our Environment and Community staff for further information by contacting:

Matt DanielMike O'ReillyTerramin Information Line
Environment and Community SuperintendentMedia Enquiries24 hour free call number
T: 08 8213 1415T: 0414 882 505T: 08 8536 8010
E: [email protected]E: [email protected]E: [email protected]
E: [email protected]

Approvals to begin mining must be gained from both the Federal and State Governments following an extensive and defined process of geological, environmental and engineering studies, by broad consultation and direct engagement with all sectors and groups that make up this local community.

Business & Employment

How much will be spent in the local area and in SA?

Terramin have undertaken an Economic Impact Assessment based on the proposed Project.

The Report outlines that –

  • The Project will generate a total positive impact on Gross State Product of an estimated $227 million over 8 years (excluding the wages and Gross Operating Surplus of the mining operation itself), or $281 million including the wages paid by Terramin. This includes the direct impacts of the Project, and the production and consumption induced impacts of flow through effects.
  • This includes $190 million of estimated wages and salaries paid to households, and the provision of a modelled 2,350 person years of employment (or an average of around 300 full time equivalent jobs per year). Only 25% of the jobs created are in Project operations itself, and some 10% from Project investment. The reminder is spread through the rest of the economy and impacts on sectors such as retail trade, business services, education, health services etc generated through a combination of the support spend for the project, but also the on-spend of wages and taxes generated.
  • 60% of the impact will occur in the Adelaide Hills Council area, around Woodside (an estimated 1,400 person years of employment), and 20% would be expected in the Fleurieu Peninsula, around Strathalbyn (501 person years of employment).

Terramin is proudly South Australian. Where possible, we source from locally based South Australian suppliers.

Click here to read the Economic Impact Assessment.

What are the benefits of setting up a mine near a township and rural businesses?

Mining offers increased training and employment opportunities for people (including young adults) in the area, as well as increased opportunities for local businesses to supply and service the mine.  The project’s proximity to Woodside means that local businesses and individuals can participate in available opportunities.  In addition, Terramin is committed to supporting local community activities and events.

Terramin is a locally-based SA business which has a highly capable team with specialised skills in developing and running mines near local communities. We have worked well with the local community at Strathalbyn over the past nine years and we envisage that same relationship would develop with Woodside and the nearby region.

Many towns in Australia have grown around mines including Stawell, Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria, Hillgrove and Tomingley in New South Wales, Charters Towers in Queensland and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Will there be a local purchasing policy?

Yes, Terramin has preferential local employment and procurement policies. Where possible, we employ local workforce and source from local businesses which have the same quality standards as our company. Here is a list of typical local businesses that Terramin would use – just as we did at Strathalbyn with our Angas Zinc Mine.

  • Drilling contractors;
  • Earth moving and civil construction contractors;
  • Uniform clothing suppliers;
  • Safety products suppliers;
  • Hardware / auto parts and tyre suppliers;
  • Contractors electrical / mechanical / plumbing;
  • Freight transport – couriers;
  • Haulage and transport;
  • Supermarkets;
  • Local hotels;
  • Local bakery;
  • Explosive suppliers; and
  • Fuel suppliers;
  • Terramin offers safety voucher rewards to our employees for use with local community businesses.

How many jobs will be created?

Approximately 140 direct jobs will be created in Woodside and the Adelaide Hills. This includes restoring 40 jobs at the Strathalbyn processing facility. An additional 420 indirect flow on jobs are expected as a result of the Project.

This represents an estimated $53.6M for salaries over the life of the project.

What is the estimated operating cost of the Bird-in-Hand Gold Project?

The BiH Gold Project will have an operating expenditure of approximately $211M over the life of the project. The project peaks in its fourth year of mining, with an expenditure of approximately $47M.

Community Engagement

How does Terramin deal with the local community?

Terramin is committed to listening, engaging and working with our community to minimise any impacts and to maximise the benefits that flow from the project locally.  As Terramin gears up its activities at Bird-in-Hand and engages in consultation with the community, we want todemonstrate that our presence can bring benefits to the local region.

Here is just one example of Terramin’s recent working relationships with business and community organisations in Strathalbyn. This is what Mr Peter Minervini, owner of the Strathalbyn IGA Supermarket, said about us:

Terramin’s June 2014 Community Information Update

Terramin’s June 2014 Community Information Update

What is the WCCC?

The Woodside Community Consultative Committee (WCCC) is a forum for the local community who have an interest in the Bird-in-Hand Gold Project.

The WCCC held its inaugral meeting on 5 June 2017. For further information contact [email protected] or see the WCCC schedule here.

Environment

Will environmental values be protected?

The Company considers that the protection of the environment is an integral component of an efficient and sustainable business.  To achieve this, Terramin engages in practices to preserve and, where possible, enhance the environment. This has been recognised by the regulators and the community at Strathalbyn. For example, the work done on the tailings dam cover system at Strathalbyn was recently recognised with a commendation (the highest distinction awarded this year) in the SA Premier’s Awards for Environmental Excellence in April 2015.

Terramin is very much engaged in building our knowledge of the local environment and using this knowledge to manage it well.

In modern underground mining ventures, all environmental risks are carefully assessed, managed and monitored to ensure long-term environmental impacts do not occur.

Environmental issues that Terramin has commenced monitoring and managing include:

  • Biodiversity and endangered species management;
  • Riparian health and restoration;
  • Surface water quality and management;
  • Revegetation and visual amenity plantings;
  • Aquifer health, regional water use and recharge;
  • Weed and pest control;
  • Erosion prevention and mitigation;
  • Fire management;
  • Waste management; and
  • Noise, dust and other possible impacts controlled.

What legal instruments are there to protect our environment?

There are a multitude of legislative instruments which control our project, including, but not limited to:

  • Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988(SA);
  • Environment Protection Act 1993(SA), including Environmental Protection Regulations 2009 (SA) and Environmental Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015 (SA);
  • Western Mount Lofty Ranges Water Allocation Plan 2014(SA);
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(EPBC Act) (Cth);
  • Mining Act 1971(SA);
  • Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920(SA);
  • National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972(SA);
  • Native Vegetation Act 1991(SA);
  • Natural Resources Management Act 2004(SA); and
  • River Murray Act 2003(SA).

As with any company or individual, Terramin must comply with all of these laws, which work together to protect the environment and local community.

In addition, an approved Mining Lease has legally-enforceable ‘lease conditions’ applied by the government regulators. These conditions will place additional responsibilities on Terramin and reinforce our commitment to the community and to the environment.

Part of the mine approval process is a Program for Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR), which will outline the ‘rules’ of the mine derived from the Mining Lease conditions. The PEPR states how components of the mine will be measured, what limits are in place and how the results should be reported to the government regulators. Compliance against these rules is analysed quarterly with the government regulators and the Consultative Community and annually in significant detail to the government regulators.

Do you have to follow the same environmental laws as the rest of the community?

Yes, the environment is protected by both state and federal laws for the prevention of environmental degradation. Terramin is committed to preserving and where possible improving the natural resources and environment values, improving water management on our land and increasing the biodiversity values to provide increased habitat for endemic species.

Additionally, mining companies have additional levels of environmental regulation compared to most industries (including farming), to ensure that a project does not have long-term impacts on environmental values. These requirements are enforced through the Mining Lease conditions.

What do miners know about the environment?

Terramin employs environmental scientists as part of their operations and management team to ensure that our actions and operations are undertaken in sympathy with the environmental values of each site where we operate. Our team is highly qualified and has decades of experience acquired in South Australia, interstate and internationally.

Where required, Terramin uses the services of external, independent environmental experts specialising in specific fields. Our environment team is undertaking important studies near the ore body and surrounding areas to determine the state of the existing environment. This includes analysing the quality of surface and groundwater sources, ecosystems, native vegetation, and identifying flora and fauna species.

The geological setting is analysed including the soil compositions, contaminates, geological structures and mineralogy to ensure that the area can be rehabilitated post mining. Baseline studies also include human activities such as air quality (dust and noise), traffic movements, and the current status quo of the social and economic fabric. As a result Terramin has a comprehensive understanding of the environment in the area.

Does mining wreck the environment?

This project will be undertaken to ensure that the environment is protected and enhanced.  In addition to operating in an environmentally responsible way, it is Terramin’s intention to improve the natural environment over the areas that we control. We would like to contribute to improving the health of the waterway. In addition, we are committed to improving biodiversity and habitat for native species which are currently in decline.

The Bird-in-Hand mine will be a small underground mine with a small surface footprint. There will be:

  • No open cut mine;
  • No onsite gold processing;
  • No use of cyanide;
  • No acid leaching;
  • No ‘fracking’ – we are not miners of oil or gas;
  • No effect on existing users’ ability to access groundwater;
  • Cemented back-fill in tunnels as part of the mining process; and
  • A site-specific Program for Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation.

All of our activities are highly regulated by State and Federal laws, regulations and policies. In addition to this, site specific compliance limits will be imposed and enforced by State and Federal governments.

Will there be increased dust from the mine?

Dust is a recognised nuisance to a community. Any potential dust generating sources will be actively managed and maintained, and government limits will be imposed and regulated by the State Government. At Strathalbyn, the contribution of dust from the Angas Zinc Mine was lower than that which occurred prior to mining.

Terramin have undertaken both air quality (dust) baseline and an impact assessment on the proposed Project. The results can be seen here in the Air Quality Impact Assessment.

Sources of dust which will be managed include:

  • Movement of materials by excavators / dozers
  • Trucks hauling ore and excavated materials
  • Wind erosion on areas of bare earth and bunds

Mitigation strategies to control dust proposed by the project include:

  • Sealing onsite roads
  • Use of water sprays on the IML to maintain moisture content.
  • Minimise the size of disturbed areas, rehabilitate and vegetate fully as soon as practical.
  • Rehabilitate and revegetate (grass covering) areas of bunds and other areas of bare earth as soon as practical.
  • Vegetation screening (windbreaks) on the eastern and western site boundaries to reduce wind-driven dust.
    • Vegetation screening, as well as the visual amenity and topsoil bunds, will help reduce dust deposition rates in the vineyards and area of remnant vegetation.
  • Change operations during adverse meteorological conditions — e.g. change our activities or stop until the wind changes
  • Implement a wheel washing system – to dislodge accumulated dust or mud from vehicles prior to leaving site.
  • If any material is tracked onto the sealed road, using a water-assisted dust sweeper to remove any material tracked out of the site, as necessary.
  • Trucks hauling material will have their loads covered.

Click here to read the Air Quality Impact Assessment.

Why have so many trees been planted at the Bird-in-Hand Gold Project Site?

Over 30,000 native shrubs and trees and 30,000 sedges were grown in a local nursery and have been planted on the site. These have been planted for biodiversity benefit, visual amenity, riparian health and dust control reasons.

Terramin has made a commitment that there will be no clearance of the remnant native vegetation woodlands at our proposed site. However, we will continue to plant areas of the site with native vegetation which is both endemic to the area and beneficial for the woodland birds which are rapidly in decline in the local Adelaide Hills and Mount Lofty Ranges region. These include the Crested Shriketit (Falcunculus frontatus), Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata) and the Superb Fairy Wren (Malurus cyaneus).

Revegetation buffer zones have been planned and planted on our boundaries, in particular the neighbouring highly valued remnant vegetation in the old Reefton Heights township, that contains many species of native orchids, including the nationally endangered King Spider Orchid (Caladenia tentaculata). Buffer zones are useful management tools as they often reduce what are called ‘edge effects’ on areas of high biodiversity values, subject to government approval these areas are planned to be made native vegetation heritage listed.

Mine Design/Operations

Will it be an open-cut mine?

No. The Bird-in-Hand Gold deposit is narrow and descends at a near vertical angle into the earth. It was previously mined out to a depth of over 100m. In order to recover the gold it is proposed to use underground mining techniques. This will require a ‘drive-in’ access from the surface called a decline. There is no above ground head frame or haulage shaft.

Will there be any ore processing at Woodside?

No. All ore will be brought to the surface, stored temporarily in the Integrated Mullock Landform (IML) and then trucked off site along approved roads. There will be no ore processing on site, there will be no tailings storage facility at Woodside, and there will be no use of cyanide or acid leaching.

How is the gold mined?

The mining process used is called ‘Cut and Fill’ mining. Tunnels are excavated from the decline to the gold bearing ore (orebody). The ore is removed using conventional drill and blast methods. The void created is then back-filled with an approved cemented fill made up of mined rock and cement. This modern mining method allows for good ore (rock hosting gold) recovery and also provides excellent control over the excavation, improved stability and safety.

How is the impact of drilling and blasting measured?

Terramin have made a commitment to noise goals which are in accordance with the EPA’s Environment Protection (Noise) Policy 2007. Terramin’s operational target have been set below EPA levels at 52dB during the day and 45dB at night, with an early warning level of 47dB(A) during the day and 40dB(A) at night – in line with the EPA’s Rural Living levels.

The limits recommended in Australian Standards are based on minimising human discomfort and are well below the levels likely to produce structural damage. It is important to note that the likely vibration limits that the Bird In Hand Gold Project will need to comply with are amongst the most stringent international compliance requirements. To give some context, below details a range of common vibration sources around the typical residential household.

  • Daily environmental changes (house creaking, etc) – 76mm/s
  • Driving Nails – 25mm/s
  • Door slams – 13mm/s
  • Jumping – 7mm/s
  • Walking – 1mm/s
  • Australian Standards (2187.2) Vibration Limit – 5mm/s

A mining blast moves the ground approximately 14 microns. This is in comparison to a human hair (30 microns), sheet of paper (100 microns) or the thermal effects on housing (2000 microns).

The Blasting Impact Assessment can be viewed here.

Will there be large piles of waste rock produced from mining?

Rock without gold will be produced during the mining process. The rock will be stockpiled temporarily on surface in the Integrated Mullock Landform (IML) to be re-used during the backfilling of the mining voids, which means that the visual impact will be minimal. The rock will not be of a large volume, in fact (to look at a recent local comparison) it will be similar to the soil moved during the construction of the neighbouring polo fields.

The IML is surrounded by grassed landscape amenity bunds and native vegetation to protect the visual amenity of the area. Dust and erosion will be controlled through engineering design and dust suppression techniques. At the end of mining, all left over rock will be returned underground and areas will be rehabilitated.

If the project is approved, how deep will the mine be?

The mine is conceptually designed down to a depth of 450 metres below surface. The decline spirals down beside the ore body, avoiding, where possible, underground water bearing fractures. Where avoidance is not possible, the mine will use cemented grout to stop the groundwater from entering the mine, allowing the ground water to pass around the void.

The gold mineralisation in the orebody occurs in mesothermal veins, known for their size and continuation at depth. At this stage we do not know how deep the mine will eventually go but exploration will be ongoing to understand more as the project progresses.

What work will happen on the surface at the mine site?

We envisage minimal infrastructure on the surface of the Woodside site. Infrastructure will include an office and car park, a workshop and water treatment, an entry portal, an ore silo and integrated mullock landform.

Where we can, infrastructure will be placed underground.

Click here to see the conceptual site design.

What will Terramin produce?

Terramin aim to produce gold concentrate for market. The concentrate will be made at Terramin’s processing site, at Strathalbyn (The Angas Processing Facility).

 How are the underground tunnels lined?

Using modern mining methods, Terramin plans to line the decline and mine voids with cemented grout and/or “shotcrete” to inhibit water from entering into the active workings. The process of lining the tunnels has been well developed over the 125 years since Bird-in-Hand was last mined.

The Bird in Hand Gold Project will use similar approaches to civil construction, where uses grouting techniques to inhibit ground water from entering underground structures and tunnels like the Heysen tunnel on the South Eastern Freeway, as well as mines such as Ernest Henry in Queensland.

Regulations

Who will ensure the company does the right thing?

The Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) is the mining regulator in South Australia. DEM works with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Department of Environment Water (DEW) to ensure protection of the environment.

All mining operations are regulated against their site specific Mining Lease (ML) conditions and the site specific Program for Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR), as well as all other environmental legislation. The ML and PEPR identifies areas of the environment which require protection and provides measures which act as early warning indicators of potential environmental degradation.

Early warning indicators are set and all aspects of the environment (dust, noise, water quality, traffic monitoring, soil sampling, vibration, etc.) are measured and reported to DEM, DEW and the EPA. In addition to these State Government controls, it is typical for the mining company to establish a Community Reference Group. The mining company provides reports of their environmental performance to the Community Reference Group for review and comment. The Reference Group acts as a conduit between the community and the company.

Terramin have a Community Reference Group – the Woodside Community Consultative Committee, which meets monthly. More about the WCCC can be found here.

Transport/Logistics

How many trucks will there be?

There are two types of trucks proposed to be used in the project. Firstly mine vehicles will be used in the mine to carry rock from underground to surface. These will not go on public roads.

Covered ore-transport trucks will be used to carry the ore from the mine to Strathalbyn. It is proposed that 12 truckloads of ore (equating to 24 trips per day) will be transported from the mine daily, however this will depend on regulatory approvals.

A new vehicle entry is proposed on Pfeiffer Road approximately half way between the Bird-In-Hand Winery and Petaluma Winery entries. The location has been selected to provide clear sight lines for driver safety. Terramin have designed the access to accommodate large vehicles safety, in accordance with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure requirements.

Three potential routes were assessed for existing conditions, safety and suitability by independent traffic experts. The proposed route for ore transport between the Bird-in-Hand Gold Project Site and the Angas Processing Facility is via Nairne Road, the South Eastern Freeway and Callington Road.

Traffic volumes are highly variable. There are frequently activities on Pfeiffer Road, including:

  • Expansions of current businesses
  • New owners and developments
  • Vintage and bottling
  • Hay and cattle
  • Strawberries and apples
  • Crush, Winter Reds, and other events
  • Polo tournaments
  • Quarry trucks delivering material

Traffic data has been collected between 2014 and 2017 and is shown below:

Existing Traffic Volumes on Pfeiffer RoadApril 2014November 2014February 2015November-December 2017
24 Hours1036953955944
Cars867762857879
Heavy vehicles1701909964
AM Peak (hour)86726878
PM Peak (hour)92907994

Where is the vehicle entry point?

A new vehicle entry is proposed on Pfeiffer Road approximately half way between the Bird-In-Hand Winery and Petaluma Winery entries. The location has been selected to provide clear sight lines to assist driver safety. Terramin have designed the access to accommodate large vehicles safety, in accordance with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure requirements.

What is the route for trucks?

Three potential routes were assessed for existing conditions, safety and suitability by independent traffic experts. The proposed route for ore transport between the Bird-in-Hand Gold Project Site and the Angas Processing Facility is via Nairne Road, the South Eastern Freeway and Callington Road.

Water

What is Terramin’s approach to Water Management?

It is critical for Terramin and for the local landholders and water users that Terramin manages the mining project in alignment with the Mount Lofty Regional Water Allocation Plan.
Terramin is committed to ensuring there is no detriment to the groundwater as a result of our mining activities. Terramin’s approach is to study and understand the environment, and regarding groundwater build a multi calibrated model that can be used to test different scenarios under a mining operation. The impact of these scenarios is then tested to determine acceptability to the ground water outcome benchmark of ‘No adverse impact to the supply or quality of water by the mining operations to existing users and water dependant ecosystems’.

Our environmental scientists are undertaking a long term survey, ‘benchmarking’ the existing condition of groundwater in the region. This involves meeting local landholders and working with them to evaluate and test bores, dams, creeks and springs.

This work includes monitoring:

  • Groundwater monitoring on-site (11 existing bores and 11 new investigation bores);
  • Groundwater levels in over 40 bores – on and offsite
  • Groundwater quality of over 60 bores for chemical analysis – on and offsite
  • Bore census (over 40 landholders surveyed to date and ongoing);
  • Exact location and height of bores (GPS);
  • Bore status confirmed of over 70 bores in the region, and
  • Monitoring water quality in Inverbrackie Creek and selected regional bores.

The Bird-in-Hand water survey is the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the region’s water qualities from small creeks and dams to sub-aquifers hundreds of metres underground.

As part of the licensing process, baseline data and a report is provided to government to contribute to the Water Connect database and is publicly available. We will continue to provide all specific data to landholders who are involved in the ground and surface water study. To become involved, just call or email one of our team members (please see details above).

If the mine is approved, this monitoring and measuring will continue and the government regulators will assign specific measuring and monitoring requirements to ensure compliance within the law and licencing conditions. Leading environmental indicators are set to detect any changes to ensure that unusual occurrences are investigated and no negative environmental impact occurs. If testing shows any unacceptable change then the government regulators have the power to stop operations and direct remediation actions required. Terramin reports quarterly to the Strathalbyn Consultative Committee on environmental compliance for the Angas site at Strathalbyn, and expect similar reporting for the Woodside community.

Is there a possibility of damage to underground aquifers?

The Water Allocation Plan protects water sources in the Western Mount Lofty Ranges. Terramin must comply with this plan, as well as all environmental legislation including the Environment Protection Act 1993(SA), Native Vegetation Act 1991 (SA), the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (SA) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

Protection of groundwater is critical for the project, while damage is possible if the law is not followed, Terramin will follow all regulations. Terramin has undertaken extensive studies to understand the interaction of the rock, geological structures, climate, irrigation use and groundwater since 2013 to ensure that we understand the groundwater system completely and can use effective design and management strategies.

It is important to note that in the 1880’s the Bird-in-Hand mine had nine shafts (see Bird in Hand Heritage report), some extending down 120m with numerous interlinked tunnels.  When the mine closed, the army used the water as a drinking supply for the Inverbrackie Barracks for many years. The original mine has not damaged either the volume or quality of the underground aquifer.

I’ve heard that mining in the 1880 and 1890’s dewatered the region, will this happen again?

No. Terramin proposes a range of methods to work together to ensure landholders will continue to be able to access groundwater. This includes designing the mine to avoid high water bearing zones where possible, grouting the tunnel to seal the water out of the shafts, and any water which enters the mine to be reinjected back into the aquifer to maintain water levels.

These measures together will prevent impacts to the quality and quantity of groundwater for local users.

Is it safe to mine through aquifers?

Our employees’ safety is our number one priority and we put in place all measures and procedures necessary to assure that mining is done to the safest standard. To protect the aquifers, the Bird-in-Hand Gold Project water management objective is to minimise the effect mining has on water quality and level, as well as the surrounding environment. The products used underground will prevent water from entering our workings – which means that any localised groundwater just moves around the ‘tunnels’ and remains within the aquifer.

Terramin will meet the same objectives as all landholders with the Water Allocation Plan, which ensures the protection of the aquifers. Grouting technology has greatly advanced across the globe and micro-cement based grouting is environmentally safe (Fidjestol, 2000) and has a strong stabilising effect. The grouting products are those used in manufacturing cement water storage vessels as well as those used to repair cracked tanks.