The mine beneath Ballarat has been producing gold for more than 170 years, in various stages, but it could ramp up dramatically.
Late last year, LionGold, the Singaporean company which owns Castlemaine Gold Fields, the company which owns the Ballarat Gold Mine, had its debts bought by Chinese investors, Yaoo Capital.
The company now owns about 72 per cent of shares.
READ MORE: 'Gold tax' kicks in but industry fights on
Gold mining in Victoria's experiencing something of a renaissance after the Fosterville gold mine, east of Bendigo, hitting a lucky patch and increased production.
While there was grumbling from the industry about the state government's new 2.75 per cent royalty tax on gold, there's quiet enthusiasm about the future - and that could mean more jobs outside of Melbourne.
One man who knows more than most is Stephen Jeffers, who until recently was the Ballarat gold mine's general manager.
He was recently let go by the company - "there's no hard feelings, I understand it's just business and not personal," he said - after almost four years.
He's looking at it positively, the next step in a long career underground.
A visit to the opal mines in Andamooka when he was a child first sparked an interest in mining, and he's worked in various roles across Australia.
"I've had a career, so far, that's been half base metals - copper, lead, zincs, nickel - and the other half has been in gold," he said.
"I've been doing this sort of thing for a while, and I love it."
The Ballarat mine currently extracts about 40,000 ounces of gold every year, which is on the small side for major gold mines.
In gold mining, the difficulty is finding the balance between exploration and making sure there's enough extraction going on to keep the mine sustainable.
Mr Jeffers said investment from the new majority shareholders should give workers, and the wider community, confidence in the mine.
There's plenty of capacity to expand - Mr Jeffers uses the term "right-sizing" - which would result in more jobs and a boost to Ballarat's economy.
"Somewhere between that 40,000 ounces a year and 200,000, there's a sweet spot in there somewhere," he said.
"My own view, it's probably 70, 80, 90,000 ounces per annum, roughly double what it is now, if you put the investment in.
"Here in Ballarat, there's targets everywhere, given the repeating nature of the geology, there's gold absolutely everywhere."
Years of careful study from geologists show there's plenty of gold left underneath Ballarat to find.
Charts from the 1870s are often still used to help map out new tunnels, and they remain startlingly accurate.
"Just in recent months, guys have been drilling out a bit further away from the mine, and starting to get some encouraging signs," he said.
"That, combined with going through the old mining records and archives - some of the underground mapping, the geology interpretation, from the 1870s and onward, is absolutely superb.
"It's just amazing, it's still useful, and in fact the guys still use them in the 3D sense to construct the underground mines and reconstruct the geology."
The success of Fosterville was particularly promising, he added.
"There's a lot more interest in central Victorian gold," he said.
"The Fosterville story is also very encouraging, Fosterville has very similar geology to here in Ballarat, they've just happened chanced across a particularly sweet part of the ore body, very enriched, and they're going hell for leather at it - and good on them.
"The potential is there, there could very well be a Fosterville moment here in Ballarat."
There's about 160 direct employees at the mine, and hundreds of suppliers - Mr Jeffers said he was keen to see more young people get their start.
"The mine is a great resource, especially for kids wanting to get into STEM subjects, it's a great playground," he said.
"While I was there I was very keen to assist the universities and local high schools any way we could to stimulate that interest.
"The mine serves as a couple of things, not only pumping a bit of wealth into the economy, but it helps train and inspire kids to get a start in their careers too.
"I've always said you can't complain about a skills shortage if you haven't done your bit to bring people on and grow and develop them."
The future will come down to the decisions made by the new owners, but Mr Jeffers is optimistic.
"They haven't been involved in gold mining, or the mining industry before, so this is a learning experience for them," he said.
"They've just hit the ground out at site and getting to know the business, they're seeing where all the pressure points are and dealing with ore body uncertainty.
"It's only just keeping its head above water and hasn't had a real chance to get from that minimum level it's at now to a right-size level.
"The mine does have some natural advantages, it has a plant out there that's less than half-utilised - it's got a capacity of 600,000 tonnes per year, we're putting about 250,000 through it.
"The idea of the mine expanding, if you're producing twice as much, it's not going to cost twice as much to do that, it might cost 30 or 40 per cent more.
"That still goes into the local economy, but the bit that's left over is what makes the business solid.
"It really needs to be turned into a good, solid, steady, and profitable business, then it can afford to pay things like gold royalties."
Mr Jeffers said he'll take some time off before hunting for his next job, and hopes to keep living in Mount Helen.
There's still a few things he'll miss about the mine.
"It's a thing people say a lot when they leave jobs, but the thing I will miss the most is the people, it's a really good bunch of people.
"It's one of the strongest things the mine's got going for it, everybody gives a damn and they want to see it succeed."
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