Rex Minerals Limited is another step closer to becoming a copper producer after government approval of mineral tenements for its Hillside Copper Project near Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.
"These South Australian Government approvals are a major milestone for Rex, some 6.5 years after exploration commenced and following 3.5 years of community consultation, public forums, community input and regulatory review," the company said in a statement to the stock exchange today.
The tenements offered comprise a Mining Lease, an Extractive Minerals Lease, and an associated Miscellaneous Purposes Licence, to allow for mining and associated activities, mineral processing, and the provision of power and water corridors.
Following granting of the tenements, Rex can proceed with the future development of its Hillside Project.
Hillside has previously received Australian Commonwealth consent for modifications of the road network upgrades and to the wharf/port at Ardrossan, which currently loads dolomite.
The company's managing director, Mark Parry, said today he was still mindful of community concerns in the region.
"We will continue to engage with and involve members of the community as the company proceeds towards the construction phase for the Hillside project," he said.
"We will maintain our community dialogue and involve the community in monitoring our performance and commitment.
"Hillside ... has the potential to provide very tangible benefits to the local community, creating jobs during [the] construction phase and during its mine life, and it is the catalyst for new fresh water and power supplies for the region and new shared infrastructure at Ardrossan.
"More broadly, there is the potential for the state to benefit through increased royalties and taxes over the life of the project."
South Australian Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the mining lease included a number of conditions, ranging from environmental management to rehabilitation, which will be publicly released once the offer is accepted.
The lease approval is a major step towards delivering this project, and demonstrates that the Hillside mine can be operated in an environmentally responsible manner.
Once Rex accepts the offer, it will have 12 months to prepare a detailed plan for the safe – that meets all of government’s stringent requirements," Koutsantonis said.
A proposal was developed in consultation with technical experts and key stakeholders, including the Hillside Community Consultative Group, a group with a cross section of community representation.
"This mining lease strikes the right balance between environmental and economic priorities."
Rex now has to convince financiers to back the company through a construction phase before it moves to becoming a production mine.
Shares opened trading today at 37.5cents, still well short of its previous highs above $2.