In November 2019, the company submitted the environmental review document (ERD) to the EPA, which comprises a thorough understanding of the environmental setting of the SOP area, developed through detailed flora and fauna surveys and studies.
Along with details of the operation, this information is assessed by the EPA to determine its approval for project implementation under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and if the project should be recommended to the Minister for development approval.
Following submission of the ERD, the EPA invited the relevant decision-making authorities (DMAs) including the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, to comment on the proposal.
APC has now received formal comments on the development with no issues raised that represent any fatal flaws to the proposed development.
Over the next quarter, the company will re-submit the final ERD for approval and move on to the final stage of the process which includes working with the EPA on a consultation period to determine conditions for approval and subsequentially the release of the EPA report.
APC expects a decision on the project by the EPA (indicative) and a ministerial statement (indicative) in quarter two with licensing anticipated in quarter three.
The company continues to liaise with the DMAs, who will only progress APC’s licence and permit applications once the LSOP’s ERD is approved by the EPA.
APC expects to submit all other required license applications and approvals immediately upon the completion of the EPA process.
Next steps for Lake Wells
The company plans to finalise EPA development approvals and permitting with the aim to develop the project into a 150,000 tonnes per annum SOP operation.
Over the next two quarters the front end engineering design program is expected to be finalised with a focus on power, logistics costs and bore-field design optimisation.
APC also anticipated finalising binding offtake agreements and securing a project financing debt package by the third quarter 2020.