VRX Silica Limited (ASX: VRX) announces that the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia (EPA) has approved the company’s Environmental Scoping Document (ESD) for proposed mining activities at its 100% owned Arrowsmith North silica sand project, 270km north of Perth in Western Australia.
The approval required no amendments to the submitted ESD document, which is testament to the process that VRX has undertaken in consultation with the EPA.
EPA approval of the ESD is a significant milestone in the environmental approvals process for Arrowsmith North and provides clarity for the company on the pathway to development. The ESD is a precursor to the Environmental Review Document (ERD), which is required under the EPA’s public environmental review process and will be released for public review.
Importantly, VRX now has an indicative timetable for full assessment acceptance by the EPA, with a final report for Ministerial environmental approval scheduled for December 2022. The indicative timetable (see full ASX announcement) enables VRX to plan and schedule key development activities for Arrowsmith North including financing, capital investment (in particular for long-lead items) and construction.
VRX has already completed process engineering, site geotechnical works and bore installations while detailed engineering for fabrication is underway.
“EPA approval of our Environmental Scoping Document is the culmination of many months of hard work by both VRX and the EPA and we look forward to continued collaboration as we progress the development of the Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project,” managing director Bruce Maluish said.
“The ESD provides the scope of studies required for the next stage of the approvals process, the Environmental Review Document, the draft of which is well advanced, and gives us clarity on the pathway forward to full approval and development of Arrowsmith North.
“Arrowsmith North is the first of our three high-quality, world-scale projects and the most advanced pure silica sand development opportunity in Western Australia. I am confident the lessons from this approvals process will assist VRX as we progress approvals and development of the Arrowsmith Central and Muchea silica sand projects.
“Based on the indicative timetable now available to the Company, VRX expects to begin Arrowsmith North’s six-month construction period in January 2023.
“I thank our shareholders for their ongoing support and patience as we progress our three 100%-owned, world-class, high-grade silica sand projects toward production and the delivery of sustained value.”