Despite reporting “strong and growing support” for the Salamanca uranium project in Spain, Australian mining firm Berkeley Energia on Monday reported that it was unlikely to imminently receive a key permit that would allow for construction to start.
As a result, the triple-listed uranium project developer announced a cost reduction programme, focusing on local and corporate costs, as well as sponsorship arrangements.
The Salamanca mine has most permits in hand, but still requires an urbanisation licence from the municipal authority and a construction authorisation licence by the Ministry of Ecological Transition for the treatment plant as a radioactive facility.
However, Berkeley warned that the timing of the urbanisation licence was uncertain, despite having complied with all legal requirements.
The firm explained in its September quarter report that it had been seeking an express resolution from the local municipality on the award of the licence for some time. In the temporary absence of a general secretary to the municipality, the provincial authority has considered the Salamanca mine application and recommended to the municipality that the licence should not be awarded until two outstanding issues are resolved.
Berkeley said that it had responded to the two items listed by the provincial authority.
“We are firmly committed to developing the mine; however, continued investment is dependent on the company receiving the necessary approvals for the commencement of construction.
“We are working closely with the relevant authorities and are confident that with due process these approvals will be forthcoming, however, in the meantime, we are taking the necessary steps to reduce costs,” said MD Paul Atherley.
He pointed out that the company had already invested €70-million into the Salamanca mine in the past decade and that the development of the mine would facilitate a future €250-million investment in a region suffering from one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in the European Union.
The company said it had received more than 22 850 job applications, with 400 of those coming from villages surrounding the mine.
Shares in Berkeley closed nearly 5% lower on the ASX.