Proponent: Stawell Gold Mines

Stawell Gold Mines (SGM) (a subsidiary of Crocodile Gold Corp) proposes to develop an open-cut gold mine along the Big Hill ridge, to the north-east of Stawell township in western Victoria.

The mine would be located on a 36 hectare site within the existing SGM licence boundary, on partially cleared land adjacent to the existing underground mine. The infrastructure for the current underground mine (i.e. processing plant, tailings storage, SGM water storages, offices and workshop) is located in close proximity to the central business area of Stawell, and would be utilised by the project. 

The project would involve the extraction of 2.3 million tonnes of gold ore by open pit mining methods from the proposed North and South pits. Ore would be trucked via existing internal roads to the SGM processing plant. Tailings from ore processing would be disposed of at the existing tailings storage facility. Waste rock generated from the project would be temporarily stored on an adjacent 6 hectares of disturbed land and used to progressively backfill the voids with the intention of re-establishing the Big Hill ridge topography.

Minister for Planning's Assessment

In October 2014, the Minister for Planning released his Assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978, which concludes the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process. 

The Minister's Assessment concluded that the project as proposed would have unacceptable impacts on the environment, with particular regard to air quality and health, and should not be approved.

The Assessment has been provided to statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on this project.

Read the Big Hill Enhanced Development Project Minister's Assessment (PDF, 538.3 KB)

Inquiry process

An inquiry was appointed to consider public submissions and inquire into the environmental effects of the proposal.  A directions hearing was held on 2 June 2014.

Public hearings were held from 2 to 18 July 2014.

The inquiry provided its report to the Minister on 16 September 2014.

Big Hill Enhanced Development Project Inquiry Report (PDF, 2.0 MB)

Further information on the Inquiry process is available on the Planning Panels webpage.

Exhibited EES

The EES for the Big Hill Enhanced Development Project was released for public comment from 28 March to 13 May 2014.

Scoping requirements

Scoping requirements set out the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES.

Draft scoping requirements for this EES were on public exhibition between 19 July and 9 August 2013.  

After considering public submissions on the draft scoping requirements, the Minister for Planning issued final scoping requirements on 4 October 2013.

Read the Final Scoping Requirements (DOC, 717.0 KB)

Consultation plan

SGM (Crocodile Gold Corp) prepared a communication and consultation plan outlining the opportunities for community engagement during the preparation of the EES.

Consultation Plan (PDF, 399.6 KB)

Project history

On 23 April 2013, the Minister for Planning decided that an EES under the Environment Effects Act 1978 was required for the proposed Big Hill Enhanced Development Project.

Read the Reasons for Decision document (DOC, 50.5 KB)

More information 

  • Questions relating to the project should be directed to SGM - Phone (freecall): 1800 771 729
  • Questions relating to the EES process should be directed to the department's Environment Assessment Unit - Phone: (03) 9223 5305