In November 2019 Worksafe conducted an audit of Carmans Tunnel which ultimately resulted in the closure of the mine that had been once been a tourist destination.
In April 2021 Mining One Consultants conducted a Geotechnical Assessment at the request of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
Recently a small group of Maldon residents, interested in rehabilitating the tunnel, met with DELWP Program Manager Land and Built Environment Gavin Parkes and Program Officer Damian Sharrock, who confirmed that DELWP had commissioned the independent report.
“The cost to get Carmans Tunnel reopened to the public safely is approximately $400,000,” said Gavin.
Damien told the Times, “The works that are required to safely reopen the site to the public will include concrete spraying and painting for the entrance. Mesh and other materials will also need to be used inside the mine to ensure it is keeping with best-practice mining standards.”
The Geotechnical Assessment found a number of safety concerns relating to the tunnel entrance and the shaft itself.
The assessment outlined concerns for potential rockfall, and insufficient support to rock mass at the tunnel entrance and provided recommendations for scaling loose rocks from the walls and spraying Fibrecrete (a concrete mixture) to the tunnel entrance.
Amongst other hazards identified, the assessment indicated that timber props and bars were sagging and in poor condition, which could possibly cause a collapse of the tunnel entrance.
The assessment recommended progressively removing the props and bars, with the possibility of reinstalling the timber to retain the authentic look and feel of the original timber as has been done in other tourist mines in Victoria.
Fencing has been recommended to prevent access to the entrance and zones above, as well as in sections in the mines that are not part of the tourist route.
Throughout the tunnel, Mining One Consultants recommend using bolts and mesh in areas that require attention.
As is evidenced by the assessment, a lot of time, work, money and expertise is required to rehabilitate Carmans Tunnel in order for it to reopen to the public.
If anyone is interested in being involved in the process of working towards reopening Carmans Tunnel please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 8 July 2022.