SURFACE

Metallica bids for coordinated project consideration

METALLICA Minerals has lodged its submission to have its Cape Flattery silica sand project considered a coordinated project with the Queensland coordinator general.

Water bore testing at Cape Flattery.

Water bore testing at Cape Flattery.

The submission seeks approval for up to a 4 million tonne per annum of production at the Cape Flattery project, a major step-up from the 1.8Mtpa Metallica suggested in its definitive feasibility study.

While the plan is to stick with the 1.8Mtpa project, going for 4Mtpa gives Metallica options.

The company is also getting ready to award contracts for key components of the project's environmental impact statement studies.

Discussions are underway with the Queensland government on its consideration to have Cape Flattery deemed a critical mineral zone too.

In June the Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the government's Critical Mineral Strategy at the World Mining Congress.

According to Metallica, as part of that strategy the government is planning for targeted investment at Cape Flattery.

In January Metallica announced Cape Flattery would be considered by federal environment minister Tania Plibersek for approval.

Metallica Minerals executive chairman Theo Psaros said seeking approval for the larger production rate meant it would not have to put in another application at a later date.

"Projects that apply to be coordinated projects do so due to the approval requirements of all levels of government and the strategic significance to a locality, region or the state, including for the infrastructure, economic and social benefits, capital investment or employment opportunities it may provide," Psaros said.

"We see an important benefit to our project in having one government agency coordinating the evaluation and approval process."

The coordinator general manages the project assessment process. That includes working with advisory agencies, local government and other organisations to seek input on the EIS and post-EIS approvals, coordinating public submissions on the EIS and other documentation, and preparing a final project evaluation report.

A decision from the Office of Coordinator General is expected in the December quarter.

Negotiations with Traditional Owners the Dingaal and Nguurruumungu clans and the Hopevale Congress Aboriginal Corporation's board are proving difficult.

Metallica has asked the National Native Title Tribunal to mediate among the negotiation parties, because of the challenge of getting a unified response to outstanding matters.

Psaros said mediation would help the parties work together to seek a common focus for the negotiation process.

"There are outstanding matters that could be best resolved under a more formal process," he said.

"We have been meeting with the two clans since October 2020 and formally negotiating since November 2021.

"We have fully respected the process since that time and look forward to the mediation process assisting the parties to reaching a mutually beneficial outcome."

Metallica needs Native Title sign-off to get a mining lease.

In June the company completed water bore testing.

The water was clean, silt free and should be in enough volume for the silica sand processing operation.

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