Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

The company, which is developing Western Australia’s first uranium mine, says it has exceeded a deadline set by the state government to begin operations.

In December 2016, the former Liberal-National government gave environmental approval to the Mulga Rock project in the eastern Goldfields, 300 kilometers northeast of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

The approvals last only five years and have been further complicated by the current Labor government’s decision to reintroduce a ban on uranium mining.

While a final $ 393 million investment decision on the Mulga Rock project is not expected until the second half of next year, Vimy Resources claims that the clearing of 143 acres covering the proposed open pit and the presence of an overnight village puts cross for start of operation.

The company has been working on early construction site work since September, which also includes the renovation of a runway.

Vimy Resources told the stock market today that it has submitted documents notifying the Department of Water and Environment Regulation of “significant beginnings”.

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Vimy’s interim CEO Steven Michael said the company had invested more than $ 20 million in the development of Mulga Rock over the past five years, with an additional $ 8 million in expenses approved as part of the early work program, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of January.

He said the mine would directly employ 550 workers during construction and 350 workers once in production, which would generate more than $ 200 million in government royalties over its 15-year lifespan.

“The foundation is now in place to build a long-term, strategic resource project for Western Australia, and the board of directors of Vimy is focused on rapidly advancing Mulga Rock to its next development milestone,” Michael said in a statement.

“Vimy will continue to work with the various state and federal government departments to obtain the necessary approvals to ensure that Mulga Rock delivers the first uranium production in 2025.

‘Cannot retroactively cancel approvals’

Secretary of State Bill Johnston was asked on Wednesday about the upcoming deadline on December 16th.

Prime Minister Bill Johnston (left) at the opening of the Joe Lord Core Library extension
Bill Johnston (left) was asked about the upcoming deadline for approving uranium. (ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

“I can not comment on the progress of their project. It is a decision for them,” he said.

Johnston said government policy is clear in opposing uranium mining.

“We can not retroactively cancel approvals,” he said

“Now, whether they have complied with their approvals, that’s a legal question. I can not answer that, and at the appropriate time, the authorities will have to investigate them and make that decision.”

Toro Energy’s Wiluna project in the northern Goldfields and the Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects, both owned by the Canadian giant Cameco, are the other WA uranium projects that the previous government has granted environmental approval.

Work ‘deeply irresponsible’: champion

Conservation Council of WA nuclear-free campaign leader Mia Pepper said the Mulga Rock project still required a number of federal nuclear safety permits and licenses before they could begin mining.

“What’s worse, the company does not have the necessary financial capacity and has therefore not made a final investment decision to develop the mine,” she said.

According to company documents, it had $ 21.9 million in the bank as of 30th of September.

“In the end, the project’s finances are simply not connected.

“In a clumsy attempt to prove ‘significant beginnings’ and without any clear plan or financial capacity, Vimy has begun ruthlessly clearing land, native vegetation and precious habitats for endangered species in the vague hope of exceeding their December deadline.”

Today’s announcement from Vimy Resources comes after the company last week rejected a proposed merger with Perth-based company Deep Yellow, which is developing a uranium mine in Namibia.

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