PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Ramelius Resources has warned of further delays to the approval process for its Greenfinch openpit operation, in Western Australia, immediately adjacent to the Edna May operation.
The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety in November rejected the clearing permit application for the Greenfinch project. To address environmental concerns, Ramelius revised the project footprint and reduced the proposed clearing area.
However, the Environment Minister this week agreed with the Appeals Convenor, which in March this year recommended that the initial rejection of the clearing permit application be upheld.
Ramelius on Wednesday said that during the appeals process, and based on feedback, the company revised the clearing of 48.8 ha of vegetation by reducing it to 26.3 ha; however, the Appeals Convenor only assessed the original application. The 26.3 ha proposal was acknowledged, but not assessed with the expectation that a revised application would be submitted by Ramelius.
Ramelius told shareholders that as a result of the Environment Minister’s decision, a final decision on the future of the Greenfinch openpit would be further delayed by up to six months.
“We are very disappointed that the Greenfinch openpit development is now subject to yet further delay. To be invited to submit a revised proposal and not have it assessed was surprising and only adds further delay to a process that has been running for more than 18 months,” said Ramelius MD Mark Zeptner.
“Although the ounces contributed by this operation, compared with the overall group production, are relatively small, the presence of an openpit mine adjacent to our Edna May underground operation would have contributed meaningfully to the business and employment in the Westonia area.”
Zeptner said there remained some A$100-million of gold value in the ground, with nearly 100 jobs on stand-by.