A TOWNSHIP between Rockhampton and Yeppoon could be transformed into a gold mine if an exploration "strikes the mother lode".
Capricorn Conservation Council co-ordinator Michael McCabe took a look at the permit after The Morning Bulletin came across the information and said he was surprised at the size of the area the mining company was looking at.
Zhong Hao Mining has been granted a permit covering 31 square kilometres in the Cawarral area and was expected to start exploration in the area by the end of the month, according to sources.
The permit was one of 90 in the Rochkhampton and Livingstone council areas including five granted to Orion Gold NL and three to Signature Coal.
The site was near Cocks- comb Veterans Retreat and Gawula (formerly known as Mt Wheeler) where a 12-year-old boy dug up a gold nugget in 1868 that was so big he could not lift it, according to records.
The site stretches north to Bondoola and across Limestone Creek in the Livingstone Shire area.
The Bulletin was unable to contact the mining company.
Mr McCabe said actual exploration and potential mine sites were often much smaller.
He said parts of Yeppoon and Emu Park roads could be lost if the company found gold, but there were many restrictions to establishing a mine.
"At first glance there would be many environmental constraints to mining approval given the nature of gold mining," he said.
Mr McCabe said it would be hard to pinpoint which constraints until drilling and sampling was done to determine the existence and quality and quantity of obtainable gold.
However, he said water in the area could be impacted by a gold mine.
"The entire ML sits over the head catchment of the Hedlow Wetlands so overland flow and impact on ground water could be significant," he said.
Mr McCabe said the area also covered rare serpentine ecosystem with rare and threatened plant species: Stackhousia tryonii, Pimelea leptospermoides, Bursaria reevesii, Capparis thozetiana and Hakea trineura.