An exploration company is moving to the next stage after making significant discoveries in a project that could lead to a new gold and copper mine being opened near Wellington.
Impact Minerals has reported to the Australian Stock Exchange and shareholders it was about to begin the first test drilling at the site south of Wellington.
Dr Jones said if the test drilling produced further positive finds it would still take up to five years to obtain government, planning and landowner approvals to open a mine.
He said the drilling program would last for four to six weeks.
This is the first-ever drill program in that area.