A TREASURE chest of minerals in land north of Monto is showing signs of becoming a world-class mine, according to explorers Aussie Q Resources.
The massive deposit of molybdenum, copper, silver and other mineral ores could rake in up to $400 million a year, and provide hundreds of jobs for the struggling North Burnett community.
Aussie Q executive director and geologist John Goody said the more the company dug, the more promising the site's prospects looked.
“It's much bigger than we originally thought,” Mr Goody said.
“It's a very large resource — definitely world class.”
He said there were two drilling rigs at the site to further the exploration, and every time they drilled, more minerals were uncovered.
“We've drilled over 50,000m with 175 drill holes,” Mr Goody said.
The company has drilled an area 2.5km long and 1km wide, with more sites to go.
“It's the size that makes it such an important deposit,” he said.
“We are continuing to drill and expect to start more explorations early next year.”
He said the molybdenum and copper deposits in the area were of high quality, and both were equally valuable in the world market.
“Hypothetically, from what has been uncovered at this stage, there is potential to turn over 10 million tonnes of ore every year, which puts it into a world-class category.”
He said a mine of that size would have a turnover of $400 million a year, and create about 400 jobs.
“In the Monto district, there's a lack of any major industry,” Mr Goody said.
“These country towns are withering and are going to die without industry, so we hope a mine would help.”
However, it will be several years before Monto residents can expect to see a new mine on their doorstep.
“We haven't attempted to source finance yet, because we are still exploring,” Mr Goody said.
Because the federal government's mining tax is yet to be finalised, he said there were too many variables to accurately predict when a mine would be built.
“Changes in legislation is the biggest threat (to the potential mine),” Mr Goody said.