A new player on the goldfields around Ballarat has arrived, and they're expecting a second major gold rush in central Victoria.
Red Rock Resources, a London-based company with mines across the world, entered a joint partnership with Power Metal Resources to create an Australian subsidiary company.
The company has applied for a mining licence covering a 700 square kilometre tenement that stretches from Enfield in the south, around the east of Ballarat and Warrenheip, and north above Daylesford.
Red Rock Resources' chairman Andrew Bell said if approved, the project could create new jobs during geotechnical explorations, and potentially more if a mine gets under way.
"When things started picking up in Victoria, we thought, that's interesting, we should look at it, and the more I looked the more excited I got," he said, speaking from London.
"Fosterville really woke people up, when they picked up the pace of exploration in 2016."
While Ballarat already has a thriving gold mine in Mount Clear, Mr Bell said for too long the outskirts of the city had been ignored.
A second British company, ECR Minerals, through its Australian subsidiary Mercator, has applied to expand its licences in Creswick - ECR was contacted multiple times for comment.
"People had been over-fixated on what was happening in 1850 to 1917, it was all alluvial, and shallow leads were exploited underground," Mr Bell said.
"I think the thing that's going to happen is that everyone's going to go deeper, because if you look underground, there's a lot of little structures, cross-cutting faults and shears, and this makes the geometry of it quite complex.
"You can almost walk by unless you put a drill in the right place."
Advancements in geophysics and exploration technology will help with this, Mr Bell added, though he cautioned it would take time to develop any leads.
"Everywhere there's old alluvial workings, or leads, or someone's put down a shaft, or you're in a recognised gold trench," he said.
"There's got to be gold there all over the place, it's just a matter of finding it and doing the work.
"Nothing is probably going to happen overnight, but what we've always done is get in there fast."
A recent press release from the state government noted 83 new mineral licence applications and 171 variations have been received by Earth Resources Regulation this financial year, with February marking a five-year high for exploration licence applications.
The Victorian goldfields hold a personal connection for Mr Bell - his ancestors worked on gold mines in Bendigo.
"My great-great-grandfather was out at the gold diggings in Bendigo, and my great-grandfather has put his place of birth as a tent in Bendigo," he said.
"I have a picture of him when he was 90 and my uncle was nine - now here we are, back in the Victorian goldfields."
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