GOLD Fields confirmed it had received a request from authorities in Chile for further information regarding an application for an environmental authorisation permit for its $850m Salares Norte project, adding that the process was “normal”.
“We have received a request from the Chilean regulator for further information to the environmental study, which we are complying with at the moment,” said Sven Lunsche, spokesman for Gold Fields. “We will provide the additional information to the regulator over the next two weeks. This process is a normal one for environmental impact assessments.”
Bloomberg News reported on May 18 that Chile had withheld an environmental permit submitted by Gold Fields as it had “lacked information”. “The response is not definitive and the company can file a new environmental request including the missing information,” the country’s environmental authority was quoted as having said.
Miningmx understands that Gold Fields has two to three weeks to provide the information which is then returned for review to Chile’s environmental agency. It has two months to pose further questions before considering the report for approval, rejection or additional required amendments.
Gold Fields said in its annual report published in April that a 30-year land easement for the project, which is situated in the Atacama district in northern Chile, had been granted on May 30 in 2016 while water rights, allowing access to 114 litres per second, were obtained on December 29, also in 2016. Salares Norte also completed the environmental and social baseline to support the project schedule as part of its Environmental Impact Assessment, the company said in its report.
Based on its interim feasibility study results, Salares Norte will have annual throughput of two million tonnes annual yielding 345,000 gold equivalent ounces at an all in sustaining cost of $575 per ounce. The project capital in the feasibility study has been put at $850m.