VRX Silica Limited (ASX:VRX) is pleased to provide this update on the development of its Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project.
- EPA consents to amendment of Arrowsmith North Proposal.
- Amendment reduces project footprint as approval process continues to be assessed by accredited assessment.
- Plant engineering and design work moves to detailed design and documentation.
EPA consent to amend Arrowsmith North Proposal
VRX has sought consent from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to amend the proposed development at Arrowsmith North during the assessment phase.
The amendment comprises the following:
- Relocation of the silica sand processing plant from the Access and Processing Development Envelope to within the Mine Development Envelope.
- Removal of the train loadout facilities.
- Removal of the solar farm area.
- A reduction in the extent of the Access and Processing Development Envelope from 447 hectares (ha) to 61 ha and renaming it the Access Development Envelope.
- An overall reduction in the extent of clearing from 412.2 ha to 366.5 ha.
Pursuant to section 43A of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA), the EPA has given its consent to the amendment, which will enable the proposed action to continue to be assessed by accredited assessment by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).
The project will initially require a trucking transport solution to Geraldton Port given the unprecedented demand that iron ore exporting has placed on train unloading facilities at the Port. The Company is actively engaging with the rail owner and the Port operator for the construction of a dedicated silica sand train unloader, storage facilities and ship loader in the medium to long term. The amendment facilitates an alternative means for export in the short term.
Restricting the project to use of the southern access route for trucking in the short term removes the complexities surrounding the western access option and reduces the project footprint. The southern route will also provide for development of a rail loadout facility in the future.
The Company does not expect any material impact on plant design or capex for the project or on anticipated margins for sale of silica sand products as a consequence of this amendment. VRX still intends to install a solar power facility with associated battery support in the medium term. The Company has completed its Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions study and confirmed that the level of emissions from Arrowsmith North are below the minimum emissions reporting level required for the National Pollutants Inventory. The Company will continue to monitor its expected emissions levels and undertake further studies to reduce its carbon footprint at Arrowsmith.
VRX Managing Director Bruce Maluish said:
“Amending the Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project proposal following further consultation with the EPA allows VRX to proceed with its approvals process with a smaller footprint. It also provides for an interim transport solution for export of silica sand product.
“Our goal in the medium to long term is to transport silica sand product via rail and provide for a solar-based power solution for the production plant at Arrowsmith North. We aim for a low carbon footprint and remain committed to the series of ESG initiatives released in VRX’s FY21 Sustainability Report.”