In 2020, the famous Melbourne Cup will be made from Bendigo gold sourced from the nearby Fosterville mine, the success of which stands to renew central Victoria’s reputation as one of the world’s richest goldfields.
The Sydney-based firm that makes the Melbourne Cup will use more than 1.6 kg of 18 carat gold from the mine, 20 kilometres east of Bendigo, worth more than $200,000 at today’s gold price.
It comes as Fosterville wins a second industry award this year on the back of exploration success that has enabled it to report a gold reserve of 1.7 million ounces.
Internationally, the gold sector is waiting for Fosterville’s owner, Canadian company Kirkland Lake Gold, to add to that reserve early next year.
After being named the Australian Mining Prospect Awards’ Mine of the Year, vice president of Australian operations Ian Holland said, “I think there’s more to come at Fosterville; I think we have only just tapped the edge”.
“It will be one of the great orebodies (and) great mines of the world, to be completely frank,” Mr Holland said.
“Really, really importantly, many of the employees that have been there from the start are still there, and they have seen that journey emerge.”
It is likely many of those more than 500 employees will be able to say in two year’s time they made the Melbourne Cup.
The trophy is one of the few in the world that is still handmade, a process of handspinning gold and putting together the 44 pieces that make up the cup that takes about 250 hours.
ABC Bullion has been contracted since 2016 to make the cup.
The firm is also a buyer of gold, and produces bullion through its refinery.
The contract with ABC meant the Melbourne Cup was made mined, refined, and crafted wholly in Australia for the first time in its 150-year history.
Known as the Loving Cup, the trophy’s three handles symbolise the relationship between the winning jockey, trainer and owner and its timber base is hand-turned from Australian Jarrah.
Fosterville was also digger of the year at the prestigious Diggers and Dealers mining conference this year held in Kalgoorlie.
High grades mined in 2017 meant the Bendigo mine outperformed all other gold mines in the world.
In the fourth quarter, Fosterville had the most impressive grade with 21.5 grams of gold per tonne of milled ore, according to industry news website Mining.com.
Combined with a cash cost of $US226 per ounce, the next cheapest producing in Burkina Faso at $US441 per ounce, caused the news site to described Fosterville as “one of the world’s most remarkable underground gold mines right now”.
The Victorian government announced this week it had extended Fosterville’s mining licence until 2035.