AUSTRALIAN mining company Eclipse Metals is poised to renew explorations in the Mary Valley which could lead to the reopening of old manganese mines that yielded more than 32,700 high-grade tonnes of the ore last century.
The rediscovery of manganese in the Mary Valley could be another massive boon for the region's economy and the Mary Valley Rattler, with Eclipse Metals expressing keen interest in the fact that a train track runs through the middle of their proposed exploration field.
Eclipse Metals plans to send a team of geologists into the Valley in 2014 to identify target sites - initially near Amamoor - for drilling to test for high-grade manganese and gold deposits.
This follows a desktop review of data dating back to 1918 which found that more than 32,700 tonnes of the ore was pulled out of the valley last century.
During the 1900s, manganese was mined from multiple sites including Mooloo, Mt Mooloo, Dagun, Eel Creek, Zacariah Creek, Skyring Creek and Amamoor.
Company spokesman Carl Popal said this week there would have to be at least 100,000 tonnes of it in the valley to make mining economically viable.
Mr Popal said having a train track "running through the guts" of the field helped, as Eclipse would most likely have to invest heavily in the infrastructure to get the alloy out of the ground and to Brisbane.
Based on a rough price of $2000-$2500 per tonne, the valley has already produced the equivalent of about $81 million worth of manganese, but it needs to promise closer to $240 million worth to make mining it worthwhile.