Metro Mining Ltd (ASX:MMI) has outlined that the Environmental Impact Statement (NYSEARCA:EIS) for the Bauxite Hills Project in Cape York has been accepted for public submissions by the Queensland Government Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (DEHP).
The project is located in Cape York and is a major development asset.
The project is classified as a Project of Regional Significance by the Queensland Government.
Metro is committed to bringing the project into production in a staged process and continues to make strong progress towards commencing production in Q3 2017, subject to all necessary approvals being granted.
Metro plans to mine 4-5 million tonnes per annum.
The project is expected to provide 75 jobs in the construction period and up to 254 jobs during operations.
The EIS is a major milestone in the approval process for Bauxite Hills and marks the commencement of the public submission period.
It follows the securing of the Bauxite Hills native title and land access agreement in January and represents the successful passing of another milestone along the road to project development.
Through the EIS process the company is seeking approval for the development a Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) bauxite mine in western Cape York with annual production of up to 5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
The project does not require a tailings dam and nor does it require dredging or bed levelling of the Skardon River.
It will mainly operate during the dry season greatly reducing mining complexity
and environmental impact.
Best Practice Approach
The project's environmental impacts have been assessed by a team of specialist consultants led by CDM Smith who have significant experience in advising on the environmental aspects of other recently approved mining projects.
In all cases in which potential environmental impacts have been identified Metro has either changed the mine plan to avoid the potential impact or proposed mitigation and management controls to ensure that there will be no material environmental harm from the proposed activities.
Next Steps and Timeline
The Bauxite Hills Project is classified by the Queensland Government as a Project of Regional Significance.
Under the EIS public submission process, written submissions are invited during the period from Thursday 19th May 2016 to Wednesday 29th June 2016.
During the submission period the public, as well as Queensland Government agencies and the Commonwealth Department of the Environment (DOTE), will be provided with an opportunity to comment on the EIS.
The company will respond to each submission and those responses, together with the company's final statement of environmental commitments, will be lodged for approval by both DEHP and DOTE.
Recent timeframes for determination of similar projects indicate that determination of the EIS by late 2016 is achievable.
In the meantime, the Definitive Feasibility Study of the project is expected to be complete around mid-year following which the company will finalise designs in preparation for construction tendering before the end of the year.
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