VRX Silica Ltd (ASX:VRX) has received approval from Native Title claimants for the terms of its proposed mining project agreement for the Arrowsmith North and Arrowsmith Central silica sand projects in Western Australia.
The terms have been approved by the Working Group for the Southern Yamatji People, Native Title claimants over the project areas.
This agreement clears the path for the granting of mining leases.
VRX managing director Bruce Maluish said, “We are delighted to have reached consensus with the native title claimants on the terms of the mining project agreement, which clears the pathway for grant of Mining Leases for both Arrowsmith projects.
“We look forward to working with the Southern Yamatji People.
“This is yet another step forward for VRX and its stated aim of becoming a global supplier of high-quality silica sand.”
Delays caused by the COVID-19 crisis, particularly regulations prohibiting movement in and out of Aboriginal communities and restrictions on public gatherings, hampered progress and presented challenges for completing the negotiation process.
However, the company worked constructively with the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) and the Southern Yamatji Working Group to reach consensus.
The negotiated terms include:
- The preservation and management of Aboriginal heritage within the areas of the mining leases pursuant to an agreed heritage protocol;
- The promotion of awareness of the Southern Yamatji People’s traditional laws and customs and facilitation of cross-cultural exchange between the members of the Southern Yamatji People and VRX and its employees and contractors;
- Ensuring the environmental impact of agreed mining operations is managed in accordance with relevant statutory obligations;
- Maximising employment and contracting opportunities for Southern Yamatji People contractors in connection with agreed mining operations; and
- The provision of agreed initial and ongoing compensation to the Southern Yamatji People for the effects on native title arising from the grant of the mining leases and miscellaneous licences within the native title claim area, the conduct of mining operations and the issue of agreed project approvals.
Plan of Arrowsmith project areas
With the terms of the agreement having now been accepted, the agreement must now be formally signed by all 12 individual Native Title Applicants along with a separate State Deed between those individuals, the company and the State.
Once fully executed, these documents will be lodged with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) to finalise the grant of mining leases and associated miscellaneous licences for Arrowsmith North and Arrowsmith Central.
The Arrowsmith North and Arrowsmith Central projects, 270 kilometres north of Perth, comprise five granted exploration licences and two mining lease applications pending.
Bankable feasibility studies for both projects have been released, each demonstrating exceptional financial metrics.