Finders is an emerging low cost copper cathode producer, developing a high grade 25,000 tpa copper mine on Wetar Island in Indonesia, plus a highly prospective, advanced gold-silver exploration project in Sumatra.
Finders Resources (ASX, AIM: FND) has reported that the Environmental Impact Assessment (known as AMDAL in Indonesia) relating to the Wetar Copper Project has been approved by the Governor of Maluku; as recommended by the Regional Environmental Impact Management Agency (BAPEDALDA).
The AMDAL covers an independent and comprehensive assessment of major and significant impacts likely to result from the proposed project activity.
Approval has been received for several key documents which cover the entire mine life of the Wetar Copper Project and include the: Environmental Impact Analysis (ANDAL), containing definition of the environmental baseline; Environmental Management Plan (RKL), together with mine closure objectives; and Environmental Monitoring Plan (RPL).
Finders’ Managing Director, Chris Farmer commented “the award of the environmental permit is a major milestone in the development of the Wetar Copper Project, and is the product of a successful definitive feasibility study, constructive relationships established with our host community over 15 years and the firm support of both the Maluku and Maluku Barat Daya regional Governments in Indonesia."
The AMDAL approval is a pre-requisite for, and now enables Finders to finalise, documents supporting the mining and processing licenses.
Finders has also reported that the demonstration plant at Wetar achieved nameplate production for the March 2010 quarter. Copper cathode produced was 453 tonnes, slightly in excess of the 450 tonne nameplate capacity for the quarter.
The company said this production result builds on the operational experience gained over the past year and provides an excellent platform from which to develop the project to full commercial scale.
"As our transition from explorer to producer gathers momentum, the environmental approval coupled with the excellent performance of the demonstration plant and current strong copper prices provide a firm platform for expansion of the Wetar Copper Project to its final design level of 23,000 tpa of copper cathode,” Farmer added.
Finders said Development activities have progressed on schedule during this period. Detailed design for the 7,000 tonnes per year Stage 1 expansion of the project is planned to be completed in June 2010.
The design managers are Brisbane based groups Electrowin and Neubau Engineering who have extensive combined experience in the engineering, design and delivery of copper SX-EW operations.
Various tender inquiries are in progress with Indonesian suppliers and contractors.
Stage 2 detailed design based on relocating the Whim Creek plant to Indonesia have commenced and are scheduled to complete in Q4 2010.
Finders have appointed Geoff Hiller as Project Manager Wetar and he will report to Rob Thomson (Executive Director Development).
Hiller has a mining and civil engineering background and for the past 3 months has been responsible for the successful decommissioning of the Whim Creek SX-EW plant in Australia.
The Whim Creek plant disassembly has been completed on time and within budget and its components are currently containerized ready for transportation.