For explorers

On 29 October 2021 the Victorian Government announced the successful tenderers for the Victorian Goldfields Ground Release.


Company name

Company details and map

Licence application number

Date licensed

1 Fosterville Gold Mine Pty Ltd

NCVGGR Block 1 map (PDF - 353.7 KB)

Fosterville Gold Mine Pty Ltd - Company information (Block 1) (PDF - 451.5 KB)

EL007792 Application under assessment


Fosterville Gold Mine Pty Ltd

NCVGGR Block 2 map (PDF - 352.2 KB)

Fosterville Gold Mine Pty Ltd - Company information (Block 2) (PDF - 273.8 KB)

EL007793 Application under assessment
3 Fosterville Gold Mine Pty Ltd

NCVGGR Block 3 map (PDF - 393.2 KB)

Fosterville Gold Mine Pty Ltd - Company information (Block 3) (PDF - 275.6 KB)

EL007794 Application under assessment
4 Southern Star Exploration Pty Ltd

NCVGGR Block 4 North map (PDF - 405.6 KB)

NCVGGR Block 4 South map (PDF - 442.7 KB)

Southern Star Exploration Pty Ltd - Company information (Block 4) (PDF - 273.8 KB)

EL007795 Application under assessment

Through a competitive, merit-based tender, these experienced and progressive minerals explorers have secured the exclusive right to apply for minerals exploration licences over four large parcels of prospective ground within Victoria’s north central goldfields region.

There remains potential for an undiscovered gold endowment of 75 million ounces (Moz) across the northern Bendigo, Stawell and Melbourne geological zones. Simulations predict that up to 32 Moz of this undiscovered gold endowment occurs under cover in the northern Bendigo Zone – these blocks cover part of that area.

The Bendigo Zone contains some of the most gold enriched crust in Australia - at least 24 Moz of gold has been produced from this Zone.

Detailed geoscience data packages and resulting interpretations are available for the northern Bendigo Zone – most of this work relates to the Geological Survey of Victoria’s Gold Undercover Initiative completed in 2009.

The geology is dominated by Ordovician turbidites sequences of the Castlemaine Group that host a series of world-class orogenic gold systems and have been intruded by post-mineral Devonian A-type granites. Younger cover units of the Murray Basin cover these rocks in the northern portion of the Bendigo Zone – these progressively thicken to the north.

The North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release area immediately surrounds the Fosterville gold deposit.

The Fosterville Gold Mine is the largest gold producer in Victoria.

Kirkland Lake produced 266,672 ounces of gold at Fosterville in the first half of 2021 with its average grade improving by 47 per cent in the second quarter of 2021, compared with the first quarter.

The company produced 314,970 ounces in total at Fosterville in 2020. Kirkland Lake also completed an exploration project and deployed five drills to Fosterville in June. It sold 364,575 ounces of gold at $1814 per ounce in the second quarter of 2021.

Find out more about Victorian gold.

Area maps, georeferenced images and shape files

Area maps

Georeferenced images

Coordinate system projection – GDA94 MGA Zone55

Shape files

Access the entry point to Geovic.

The tender process

Subject to licensing, the successful tenderers will gain the exclusive mineral exploration rights for the relevant block(s). The tender opportunity was offered to experienced minerals explorers who could demonstrate a history of responsible exploration and a commitment to working closely with Traditional Owners, local stakeholders and communities.

Tenders were evaluated against published tender evaluation criteria.

To ensure fairness and transparency of the process, the tender evaluation was conducted by an Independent Assessment Panel, supported by two advisory panels for assessing proposals relating to responsible minerals exploration and Traditional Owner matters. The tender and evaluation process were conducted in accordance with strict probity requirements overseen by an external independent expert Probity Advisor.

Under the Mineral Resource (Sustainable Development Act) 1990, each of the successful tenderers must apply for a minerals exploration licence over their relevant block. Accepted tenders will proceed to the licensing stage, which is conducted by Victoria's mining regulator, Earth Resources Regulation, in accordance with relevant state legislation.

The tender opened on 29 October 2019 and closed on 14 February 2020. A one-day tender briefing for potential tenderers was held on Friday 13 December 2019.

All presentations were recorded and have been uploaded to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions YouTube channel.  Video transcripts of the presentations are available.

Tender update – Licensing assessment phase

This infographic is an overview of the six phases of the tender, from ground selection to granting of minerals exploration licences

A globally renowned gold province

With more than 80 million ounces of gold mined since 1851, recent exciting gold exploration outcomes and increased gold production in the central goldfields region in recent times has seen Victoria's resurgence internationally as gold exploration destination.

The Geological Survey of Victoria estimates that there may be up to 75 million ounces (Moz) of undiscovered gold under cover in northern Victoria, at greater depth than has previously been explored.  The central and north central goldfields, located in the Bendigo geological zone, hold promise, with up to an estimated 32 Moz of gold yet to be found.

Victoria features access to high quality transport and utilities infrastructure, established global markets and export pathways, and boasts a highly skilled, local workforce.  Melbourne is a global mining hub and corporate home to many large mining and mining services companies.

Reducing exploration risk

Underpinning the tender is a comprehensive program being implemented by the Victorian Government to reduce minerals exploration risk, build community understanding and confidence and attract experienced, progressive and responsible minerals explorers.

The North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release includes:

  • Pre-competitive geoscience data and knowledge to support evaluation of the geology and prospectivity;
  • Land use planning studies about the regional context, key land uses and features of importance to local communities within the blocks, to assist minerals exploration evaluation, planning and activities; and
  • Engaging with Traditional Owners, local authorities, stakeholders and community group representatives about the tender and minerals exploration and mining more broadly.

Pre-competitive geoscience

A geological overview of the ground release area and the four blocks offered was provided in the tender documents.

To assist exploration efforts, the Geological Survey of Victoria has interpreted and compiled a large volume of geoscience information, knowledge and data into regional geoscience datasets which are available at

This includes historical GSV maps, associated reports and geophysical data for the region which are available for download.

Land use planning to understand features important to communities

The North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release comprises over 1500 square kilometres of land within the Campaspe, Greater Bendigo and Mount Alexander council areas. It extends across parts of the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Yorta Yorta nations.

Prior to releasing the ground, the department met with regional authorities, organisations and local farming and community leaders to identify features within the proposed ground release area that required specific safeguarding during minerals exploration.

Jacobs Engineering assisted the department in gaining a better understanding of local land use patterns; land planning and environmental values; as well as water, infrastructure, and heritage features of significance.

Jacobs Engineering accessed data held by councils, water agencies, planning authorities, land managers and resource managers. Almost 50 categories of significant features were identified.  How these features could be protected was also examined.

Have a look at the interactive overview summarising the Jacobs Engineering assessment.

More information

Page last updated: 11 Jan 2024