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Woodcutters base metal prospect exploration proposal accepted



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FOR PRESS

EIviBAaGO a Not to be quoted. before

4 p.a. Sunday, 15 September,

1968

WOODCUT TERS BASE 1FEE'iAL FROSFIC'T

EXPLOATI0N PROPOSAL ACCEPTED

(Statement by the Minister for the Interior, the honourable

P.J. Nixon, i:.2. ).

The Minister for the Interior, Mr P.J. Nixon,

announced today that a.joint proposal submitted by Fe'_•ko-Wallsend Investments Limited and Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia Limited had been accepted for the furtner explor-

ation and possible development of the V[oodcutters L5 lead--zinc prospect near Rum Jun le in the Northern Territory,

"It is expected that the co_m oanies would spend at least $150,000 in the initial stage of exploration and

assessment of the prospect", Mr Nixon said.

Peko and E.Z. are both Australian-owned public

companies and together they provide an attractive combi natio n

of lrno wledge of mining in the Northern Territory and experience

of lead-zinc mining and zinc processing elsewhere in Aus a i

Both companies w ire already involved in extensive exploration work in the Northern Territory and the Peko group

operated mines in the Tennant Creek area and at Mt. Bunaey.

The discovery of the Woodcutters lead--zinc, prospect

was made in 1966 in the course of a uranium explora-tio n pro ;r : i, -:

sponsored by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Companies were invited in December, 1967 to suimit pro_oos to for farther

exploration and possible subsequent development of he prospect

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The area to be made available to the co mipanies

comprises about 360 acres covering the ? ioi rai occa r reuces of

silver/lead/zinc mineralisation.

Several companies had submit-Led proposals and these

had been.considered by Government on the basis of the

selection criteria announced in December, 1967.

Thee criteria included the extent to which comaaities were able to meet

an announced. framework of conditions and terina for exploration and development;

• the tec hnical and financial status/ ' f appli.ca nt_

• previous ' association with miner a ^' development,

particularly in the Northern Terri -g ory and s

elsewhere in Australia;

• any proposed future contribution to mineral exploration in the Northern Territory apart

from the !Woodcutters prospect, any special factors or proposal, b y which the

applicant would be able to contribute further

to the economic develoi rent of the Northern

Territory apart from exploration and development

of the }?ood^a `er s prospect.

The framework of conditions and terms for exploration and development announced at the time of inviting a=; i cations included provision for

a commitment to enter into an ex lar t i n agreement providing for an approved minimum programme of exploration an assessment of ore reserves for the pur-oose

of negotiating a development agreement prior acceptance of the main princi oles for a

development agreement including ps o 'ri e _ors for minima n expenditure and production commitment s., further processing if economicall y feasible,

determination of royalties by negotiation, reaso n-opportunities for Australian equity ,oarticipotion; and reasonable op nor tunniti e,s for ezploymenit and training of Aboriginals.

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The proposal from Peko and E.Z. met the criteria

for selection and the companies have stated their preparedness

to enter into exploration a:jid development agreements

The discovery had been made by a Commonwealth agency

at Commonwealth expense and the eventual detailed terms of

development, if proceeded with, would take this into account.

Possible recovery of prior iover:t :ient a penditures on the prospect would be a matter for negotiation as part of a development agreement.

F ollowing the acceptance of the Yeko and E. Z . proposal. the Commonwealth would discuss shortly with the

companies the detailed arrangements to give effect to their

proposal.

Work on the Woodcutter's Prospect will ,_ d tlo the

increasing level of activity in mineral exploration now e riden-,

in the Northern Territory.

Mineral development activity generally in the

Territory is at a high level and the value of mineral prodL:c bi.u:

in 1967/68 was at a record level of around 427 million, an increase of about 33 per cent over that of the previous year

Several major new projects have come into production over the

last two yews. These include manganese production at rroote Eyl ndt, iron ore at Frances :reel: and it. Bundey9 and ex2an zcrt of copper and gold production at Tennant Creek. Advance planning

for the impo._ can t Cove bauxite-alumina project is also well under way.

These developments in the mineral industry augu • well for future economic growth in the Territory.

Canberra, A.C.T.

Darwin, N.T.

15 September, 1968