21/09/2021 - 12:30

Pantoro given green light for Norseman

21/09/2021 - 12:30

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Goldminer Pantoro is a step closer to restarting operations at Norseman in Western Australia, having received the all-clear from the state's environmental authority.

The $89 million Norseman project is expected to average 108,000 ounces a year. Photo: Shane McLendon

Goldminer Pantoro is a step closer to restarting operations at Norseman in Western Australia, having received the all-clear from the state's environmental authority.

Pantoro and joint venture partner Tulla Resources have proposed a seven-year operation at Norseman – a historical mine located 200 kilometres south of Kalgoorlie – which would require the removal of 331 hectares of native vegetation.

The area has produced more than 5.5 million ounces of gold since operations started in 1935, according to Pantoro, which paid $45 million for half a stake in Norseman in mid-2019.

The restart would require an extension to the existing mines at Norseman, as well as the excavation of open pits and the construction of a new processing plant, as per a proposal submitted to the Environmental Protection Authority in May.

The EPA received 63 submissions during a two-week public consultation period, of which 47 suggested the mine proposal didn’t need a formal assessment while 16 pushed for a public review.

In its decision, the EPA said the potential impacts on flora and fauna, cultural heritage and inland waters weren’t significant enough to warrant formal assessment.

It said Pantoro had resolved to remove the new Cobbler pit from its mining proposal after concerns were raised during the public discussion, and that the West Perth business had committed to developing a heritage management plan in consultation with Native Title Owners.

“The proposal is a recommencement of past activities that have been historically managed and regulated through other processes,” EPA chair Matthew Tonts said, noting emissions and discharges associated with mining would be regulated and land clearing managed through a permit.

Appeals to the decision can be lodged until October 4.

The $89 million Norseman project is expected to average 108,000 ounces a year, peaking at 119,000oz in year two, as per a definitive feasibility study completed last year.

Pantoro recently contracted Ascot-based GR Engineering Services to design and build the 1 million tonnes per annum process plant, which is intended to have the capacity to expand to 1.5mtpa.

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