THE life of the Ravenswood gold mine has been extended after Resolute Mining secured nine new mining leases.
The leases will secure 380 jobs in the historic gold town, with 100 jobs to be created during construction of the new mine.
Resolute's existing Mount Wright underground mine is due for closure next year.
The expansion will see open pit mining at the adjoining Sarsfield and Buck Reef West deposits.
Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham yesterday granted the new mining leases, an essential step for the $150 million project to extend the life of Ravenswood gold mine operations.
"These new leases acknowledge Resolute Mining's significant contribution to Ravenswood," Dr Lynham said.
"The company has pre-funded and commenced refurbishing and relocating the historic Ravenswood State School, providing new sporting facilities and helped preserve this former gold town's cultural heritage.
"For Resolute, it means they can continue operations smoothly as one mine reaches the end of its lifecycle and another begins.
"For the 280 strong workforce, it means another 13 years of employment, as well as an additional 100 construction jobs for the new mine."
Resolute's managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn said he was pleased to receive further support to expand production at Ravenswood.
"These new mining leases support our plans to expand production from our Ravenswood mine and continue a strong partnership with the government and the local workforce and community that commenced in 2004," Mr Welborn said.
"We continue to create value at Ravenswood and we expect the ongoing strategic review will now be able to incorporate expanded production rates as we prepare for an investment decision on the Ravenswood Expansion Project in the second half of 2019.
"Ravenswood's future is increasingly secure as a successful large-scale long-life open-pit gold mine that will provide local employment, regional economic stimulus, community benefits, revenue for the State Government, and benefits for Resolute shareholders."
Resolute will be able to fast track production by using its existing processing plant and equipment, and Buck Reef West is expected to be in production by July, reaching full capacity by 2024.
Ravenswood, 150km south-west of Townsville, has a rich mining history dating back to the gold rush and from its early production in 1868 it is a region which produced more than three million ounces of gold.
In its heyday in 1911, the town had 2010 residents and 48 hotels. Today there are around 200 residents, two restored hotels and the town site is a national heritage area.