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South32’s Hermosa federal permitting process gets under way

Hermosa will produce two federally designated critical minerals - zinc and manganese

Hermosa will produce two federally designated critical minerals - zinc and manganese

13th May 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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The US Forest Service (USFS) has initiated the federal permitting process for the South32 Hermosa project, in Arizona.

Under the umbrella of the National Environmental Policy Act, the USFS has launched the scoping process, inviting public input and commentary on South32’s project plans. This process aims to identify the scope of environmental analysis and explore potential impacts as part of the environmental impact statement.

While all of Hermosa’s mining will be done from private lands and require several state permits to begin initial development, a federal permit is required to fully develop the project.

The scoping process is specifically focused on the scope of the environmental analysis, alternatives that meet the purpose and need of the project, and receiving information that will help the USFS understand and analyse environmental effects of the project’s proposed expansion of ancillary infrastructure onto Forest Service lands.

Hermosa stands out as the sole advanced mining project in the US capable of producing two federally designated critical minerals – zinc and manganese.

It is also the first mining project covered by the FAST-41 programme for critical infrastructure projects that benefit the nation, which enables open lines of communication and transparency between all stakeholders while ensuring a robust and rigorous review process.

“South32’s Hermosa project aims to set a new standard for sustainable mining, with advanced technology. Because we are building it from the ground up, it is being designed to minimise environmental impact, including operating on a limited surface footprint, using approximately 75% less water than other mines in the region and achieving the goal of no-net loss for biodiversity,” said Hermosa project director of permitting and approvals Brent Musslewhite.

“Hermosa represents the largest private investment in Southern Arizona’s history, and our goal is to design a project that benefits the region now and for generations to come. That’s why we encourage community members to participate in the Forest Service’s public comment process,” he said.

Federal authorisation is expected to take over two more years and will include multiple rounds of public feedback and discussion.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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