Gold re­vival a boost to ho­tel

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Josh Chiat

The Men­zies Ho­tel is one of a hand­ful of wa­ter­ing holes along the 230km stretch of high­way con­nect­ing the gold cap­i­tal of Kal­go­or­lieBoul­der to Leonora in the heart of the north­ern Gold­fields.

And the prospec­tor who has owned it for the past decade says the re­vival of gold ex­plo­ration in re­cent years has brought cus­tomers back to the pub, which has run con­tin­u­ously since 1902 and been the only op­er­at­ing tav­ern in the town of the same name for 95 years.

The Men­zies Ho­tel has se­cured a ten­ta­tive book­ing from the com­pany min­ing the his­toric Comet Vale gold project nearby for the next two years, keep­ing the ho­tel’s top floor full and its kitchen busy.

Added to tourist traf­fic for Antony Gorm­ley’s stat­ues on Lake Bal­lard, 50km up the road, pub­li­can Dave McKenna said turnover had dou­bled since 2014, when the col­lapse of com­mod­ity prices caused the vir­tual de­ser­tion of the nearby Yil­garn iron ore in­dus­try and the flight of in­vest­ment from the re­gion.

“(The years) 2013, 14 and 15, the whole of the Gold­fields was quiet and I think Aus­tralia in gen­eral was quiet,” he said. “I think the area is more sta­ble. “There’s al­ways been gold there and we’ve got a bit more ag­gres­sive play­ers in and the gold mines are start­ing to open up again, so that’s been the turn­around.

“There’s been a small amount of drilling around Men­zies it­self but prob­a­bly around the whole of the north­ern Gold­fields the drilling has in­creased (and) there’s a lot of drill rigs out ex­plor­ing for var­i­ous met­als, not only gold.”

An­other ex­plorer an­nounced yes­ter­day its in­ten­tion to pivot to the Men­zies dis­trict as WA School of Mines grad­u­ate Chris­tian Price took the reins at min­now gold de­vel­oper Re­sources and En­ergy Group as its act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Re­sources and En­ergy Group will raise $5 mil­lion and pay up to $2.1 mil­lion in cash and shares to a va­ri­ety of par­ties, most of them as­so­ci­ated with the com­pany’s di­rec­tor Richard Poole, to grab hold of what it has dubbed the East Men­zies gold project, pend­ing share­holder ap­proval.

East Men­zies con­sists of a host of ten­e­ments cov­er­ing 103sqkm and more than 400 his­toric work­ings within a few kilo­me­tres of the town, 130km north of Kal­go­or­lieBoul­der, with re­ported his­toric pro­duc­tion from the leases of about 100,000 ounces of gold.

Mr McKenna said he was pos­i­tive the re­vival of ex­plo­ration, com­bined with civil projects and tourism, would keep busi­ness far stead­ier than it had been in re­cent years.

“I can see this hold­ing for some time,” he said.

Pic­ture: Kelsey Reid

Men­zies Ho­tel man­ager Lau­rice Gaitau takes a break in be­tween serv­ing cus­tomers.

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