THE hunt for manganese at Langshaw has stepped up, but the company behind the search says mining the site is years away, if it ever happens.
Eclipse Metals executive chairman Carl Popal said drill testing to explore the extent of mineral deposits on the property, about 16km outside of Gympie, had started in December.
However, major work was a long way off.
"We're not mining obviously, that's a completely different approval," Mr Popal said.
He expected drilling to be done by mid-March.
If the company did find deposits, Mr Popal said they then had to decide if mining was financially viable.
"It should be at least a good two years before we start actual extraction," he said.
With the mine a possibility, some residents are worried about the potential impacts, such as noise levels and damage to roads which were already in rough shape without heavy traffic.
Langshaw's Ash McGregor is concerned that residents have not been informed about what is happening.
He said more consultation could allay their fears.
"If everything was nutted out, it could be fine," Mr McGregor said.
Along with adhering to government regulations which require all sites to be rehabilitated, Mr Popal said the mine would help avert problems like manganese contamination of the nearby creek.
"It's already leaching into the waterways because it's buried there," he said.
"Extracting it will remove the issue."
A spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy confirmed Eclipse had three exploration permits for the site, but no current mining leases.
"The granted EPMs authorise drilling for exploration purposes only and do not authorise any mining activity," the spokesman said.
"Eclipse Metals is an ASX listed company and is required to comply with land access laws and its environmental authority before making entry on land, including for drilling."