The next step has been taken in the development of a gold mine near Millers Flat.

Hawkeswood Mining Ltd is planning to mine for gold in an area beside the Clutha River just west of Millers Flat.

It has applied for land-use consent from the Central Otago District Council and the council is now calling for submissions on the application.

The company has already received a minerals mining permit from New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.

It is applying to the district council for land-use consent to establish and operate an alluvial gold-mining operation. It is seeking a five-year duration for the consent.

The mine, if approved, would be a low-emissions operation, with a floating dredge and large dump trucks.

Such technology could bring down the operating life of the mine from an estimated 14 years to five.

The dredge weighs 270 tonnes.

The mining of the site will operate Monday to Friday from 7am to 7pm and on Saturday from 7am to 1pm with no work occurring on Sundays or public holidays.

Overburden will be removed with excavators and dump trucks and stockpiled on site.

Up to 20 staff will be employed on the project, including machinery operators, mechanics and engineers.

The depth of excavation varies across the site, with the base of the gold-bearing wash layer being located about 8m to 15m below ground level. At the northern end of the site, it is proposed to maintain a dry working area, above natural ground level.

The company will also apply for consents with the Otago Regional Council. It has been granted an exploratory permit, which it is now operating under.

The district council has sought comment on various issues and Hawkeswood Mining had said the Clutha Cycle Trail, which runs through the land, will at no time be closed during the mine’s operation. It has also outlined controls around dust and vibration.

The council will receive submissions until August 31, which will be followed by a hearing.