Key approval for controversial mine
REX Minerals has secured the final State Government approval needed in order to develop its Hillside copper mine on the Yorke Peninsula
– a project which has attracted high-profile opposition in the past.
The company announced to the Australian Securities Exchange that it had been granted its Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) approval for Hillside.
The company already has a mining lease for the project, meaning it can move into the development phase if the company can fund the project.
Company spokesman Gavan Collery said Rex would put out an updated feasibility study in the near future, after which the company would consider funding options for the project.
Rex lodged the PEPR more than two years ago.
The most recent development costings for the project envisaged a project costing $480m, down from an earlier, larger project which would have cost $900m and would have also exported iron ore as well as copper and gold. The company said in 2015 the scaled-down project would have a 13-year mine life, producing an average of 35,000 tonnes of copper and 24,000 ounces of gold per year for the first 12 years. Six million tonnes of ore would be mined per year, and the project was expected to create 500-550 construction jobs and an ongoing 500 jobs once it was in production.
Mr Collery said while there were always a range of views with such projects, the company believed it had strong community support.
“The next step for us is to update the feasibility study,’’ he said. “That will happen in the very near term.’’
Prominent Adelaide businessman Glenn Cooper, a former executive with Coopers Brewery and a shack owner at Black Point, near the proposed mine site, said he was not opposed to mining, but believed the site, 12km south of Ardrossan and 3km north of Pine Point, was inappropriate.
“This is some of the best barley and wheat growing land in the state,’’ he said. “It’s also very close to the sea, and it’s a large, open pit project.’’
Mr Cooper said the planned overburden piles, where excavated rock and soil would be laced, would be enormous.’’
Rex chief executive Richard Laufmann said projects such as Hillside could be a key plank in the nation’s post-COVID recovery.
“Mining developments like the Hillside Project will be a critical bedrock in the nation’s recovery, providing opportunities for wealth creation in the trifecta of local community jobs and business opportunities, government royalties and taxes, and shareholder returns.’’
Rex shares closed 12.9 per cent higher on Friday at 17.5c.