Has Central Queensland struck gold?
HAS Central Queensland struck gold?
Isaac Regional Council's Mayor Anne Baker believes so with two new fossicking areas opening in the western Isaac region.
The areas are at Blair Athol State Forest, 22km north-west of Clermont in the Isaac Regional Council area.
"Gold fossicking helps assist Clermont's economy and we praise the State Government for opening these areas,” Mayor Baker said.
"What a better way to spend time with the family by enjoying a treasure-hunting trip in Isaac's outback.
"Clermont is a popular area for gold fossickers and this will open up new areas to explore.”
"We hope these new areas will attract visitors to the region by bringing economic and social benefits to Clermont.
"I would like to reflect that this positive outcome is due to working together. Thank you to the Clermont community, fossicking groups, Council and the State Government.”
The discovery of alluvial gold in gullies south of Clermont in 1861 triggered one of Queensland's major gold rushes and today the area attracts interest from fossickers and metal detector enthusiasts.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the Clermont Community and Business Group, Isaac Regional Council, and fossicking and prospecting representatives had requested more areas to be made available for fossicking.
"We had comments from locals and prospectors that some current fossicking areas on private and public land were being overworked, so it is wonderful we now have two new areas in Blair Athol State Forest,” she said.
Ms Enoch said the Central Gold District (based around Clermont) now had 10 fossicking areas, including seven on State forests.
"It's also worth remembering that a fossicking licence is required for this activity,” Ms Enoch said.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is supportive of fossicking and has worked with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to obtain consent from all interested leaseholders, to declare and provide access to these new areas.
A month-long licence costs just $11.55 for a family, or $8 for an individual. Information on fossicking around Clermont, including maps and safety advice, is at https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/fossicking/central-gold
More information about fossicking in Queensland is at https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/fossicking