VRX Silica (ASX: VRX) has released its quarterly activity report for the period ending 31 March 2020.
Muchea sillica sand project
During the quarter, the Company through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Wisecat Pty Ltd, entered into a Native Title Mining Project Agreement for the Muchea Silica Sand Project (Muchea Project).
The agreement was entered into with the Whadjuk People Native Title Claim Applicants under Application WAD242/2011 (as the authorised representatives of the Whadjuk People Native Title Claim Group) and the South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council Aboriginal Corporation (SWALSC) in its capacity as agent for the Whadjuk People. It represents a significant milestone in the development of the Muchea Project and was the result of negotiations conducted in good faith with the Whadjuk People and SWALSC.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Whadjuk People give their consent to the grant of the Mining Lease and the Miscellaneous Licences for the Muchea Project within the Native Title claim area and the conduct of silica sand mining operations at the Muchea Project. The agreement also provides for a set of shared long-term objectives for the parties and a range of measures designed to achieve those objectives over the term of the agreement (being the life of the Muchea Project).
The preservation and management of Aboriginal heritage within the Mining Lease area wherever possible pursuant to an agreed Heritage Protocol;
The promotion of awareness of the Whadjuk People’s traditional laws and customs and facilitation of cross-cultural exchange between the members of the Whadjuk People and the tenement holder and its employees and contractors;
Ensuring the environmental impact of agreed mining operations is managed in accordance with relevant statutory obligations;
Maximising employment and contracting opportunities for Whadjuk People contractors in connection with agreed mining operations; and
The provision of agreed initial and ongoing compensation to the Whadjuk People for the effects on Native Title arising from the grant of the Mining Lease and Miscellaneous Licences within the Native Title claim area, the conduct of mining operations and the issue of agreed project approvals.
In addition, the agreement contains provisions that are customary for an agreement of this nature, including as to confidentiality, warranties, force majeure and dispute resolution procedures.
Signing of this agreement has cleared the path for grant of the Mining Lease and the Miscellaneous Licences for the Muchea Project. The parties have commenced the formal process with the National Native Title Tribunal required under this agreement to obtain the approval of the Minister for Mines for the grant of the Mining Lease. Despite delays caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the Company expects consent orders to be issued by the Tribunal and the Mining Lease to be granted in the June quarter.
In parallel, as part of the environmental approvals process for the grant of a Mining Permit at the Muchea Project, during the quarter the Company has continued to compile necessary data to support referrals to the Federal Department of Environment and Energy (DotEE) and the State Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The Company and its environmental consultants held pre-referral meetings with representatives from DotEE and received valuable feedback as to requirements for the referral.