Boddington is located southeast of Perth, in Western Australia. Boddington Gold Mine sits a little over 15 km outside of the shire. Gold mining began in the 1980’s and ceased operations less than a decade later. When mining activity was completed, efforts continued to discover new gold deposits, as well as maintain and rehabilitate the area.
Exploration found deposits further below the earth’s surface, than originally discovered closer to the surface during previous mining activity. Full scale expansion began. It is estimated that over 15 million ounces of gold exists in the mine. When the project is complete it will total over $2 billion. Currently, Newmont Mining owns two thirds of the mine with South African based Anglo Gold Ashanti owning the remaining third.
In addition to expansion of the mine, construction of an additional processing plant will create one of the largest gold processing plants on earth. Such large scale mining excavation and construction require thousands of employees to work, before it begins operations. Many of the employees are temporarily working at the site in fly in fly out positions. Temporary living facilities are located on the site of the mine during construction. Project completion is scheduled for 2009.
Once expansion of the mine and construction of the plant are completed, an additional 600-700 long term employees will be hired. Potential employees will be from a mix of professional and skilled roles. In addition, apprenticeships in areas like electrical and mechanical will be in high demand. Apprenticeship programs will also be available for hands on learning opportunities with onsite classrooms. Apprenticeships are already available during expansion and construction. Mining will be an opportunity for community members seeking employment. Opportunities will also be available for community members seeking employment, as well as economic growth.
Individuals employed by the mine will experience a lifestyle differing slightly from traditional mining camps. Mines are normally located in remote areas and require employees to work on a fly in fly out roster. Boddington differs slightly. Mine owners look to expand housing off the site of the mining camp, by creating affordable housing within Boddington. Permanent housing will enhance the lives of employees normally working rosters on fly in fly out positions and create permanent living standards for individuals and families.
This permanent group of employees will take on the task of producing gold bullion. After gold is extracted from the mine, deeper into the oxide pit, it is taken to the processing plant where it is crushed, grinded, and sent through a process called “carbon leaching.” A new production plant will handle the processing and is locate onsite at the Boddington Gold Mine. It is expected that “approximately 1 million ounces of gold” will be processed in the first five years. Newport Mining and Anglo Gold Ashanti will make large efforts to reduce the environmental impact of mining gold and production. Activity will take place to replant forests and use renewable sources of energy. In addition, water in the processing plant is to be recycled.