POTENTIAL: A trial mining phase will occur at Impact Minerals Blackridge Gold Project near Clermont. Picture: Rob Leeson.
POTENTIAL: A trial mining phase will occur at Impact Minerals Blackridge Gold Project near Clermont. Picture: Rob Leeson.

BOOM TOWN: Golden potential for CQ town

A HISTORIC CQ town is on the cusp of a golden era of prosperity, with the potential for three mega projects now in its sights after years in the doldrums.

Impact Minerals has announced a trial mining phase at the company's Blackridge gold project near Clermont.

If successful, this will be a major step forward in demonstrating the potential for a large open pit gold mine at Blackridge.

This week's announcement comes hot on the heels of two other major projects revealed for Clermont.

Last month, state and federal funding was secured for Signature OnFarm's abattoir at Sondella Station near Clermont, with construction expected to start before the end of the year.

The project will provide more than 200 jobs and is set to inject more than $60 million in broader economic benefits into the community over 20 years.

Queensland company Vitrinite has also been given the opportunity to potentially expand its existing Karin Basin project near Clermont, which could see it join the next pipeline of metallurgical coal projects in the state.

POTENTIAL: Vitrinite coal tender map.
POTENTIAL: Vitrinite coal tender map.

Clermont's Leo Hotel owner, Les Boal, said the town was eagerly awaiting all three projects to eventuate after a quiet few months.

"We're just waiting on these developments to be realised and hopefully it will help the town pick up," Mr Boal said.

"Business is pretty stagnant at the moment.

"Some businesses are struggling, but since the Blair Athol mine has kicked in, it's been a benefit for the town. They've employed quite a few locals, so some of the old miners have come back here."

Mr Boal said the only other thing Clermont needed now was a "bit of rain".

Burdekin MP Dale Last has described the pipeline of projects as "game changers" for the region.

"Many local businesses have been doing it really tough for a few years - it's just a confidence boost that these communities need," he said.

"It's probably the best news Clermont has had in years."

POTENTIAL: Testing at Impact Minerals’ Blackridge gold project.
POTENTIAL: Testing at Impact Minerals’ Blackridge gold project.

Mr Last, who has been advocating for more families to move back to rural and regional areas like Clermont, said the scale of the projects would provide a huge employment boost and have flow-on effects for nearby communities.

In a statement to the ASX, Impact said trial mining of up to one million loose cubic metres would be undertaken at the Blackridge gold project following an agreement for tribute mining signed with Queensland-based Nimble Resources Pty Ltd.

Impact managing director Dr Mike Jones said work was under way to finalise a plan of operations to be submitted to the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) for approval, with mining to start as soon as possible afterwards.

"This agreement is a very positive step forward for the Blackridge project," Dr Jones said.

"We know that the best way to determine grade in coarse gold deposits such as Blackridge is to simply start mining." 

Isaac Mayor Anne Baker said the three potential projects were an "encouraging" sign for the region.

"Mining accounts for about 78 per cent of the region's total Gross Regional Product of $5.9 billion per annum," she said.

"And agriculture remains one of the key industries for the Isaac region with the gross value of $172.3 million.

"We are in the middle of an unprecedented upswing in the resource sector. This is a positive signal for our local communities."