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The Atacama Environmental Assessment Commission has approved the environmental impact study for dual-listed gold miner Gold Fields’ Salares Norte project, in Chile.
The environmental approval is a crucial step for Gold Fields as it evaluates a construction decision.
CEO Nick Holland on Wednesday said that the company would formulate funding plan and update the feasibility study, which was completed earlier this year. A construction decision was expected during the first half of 2020.
The potential mine at Salares would present a boost for the regional economy with respect to job creation, procurement of goods and services, as well as payments of taxes and royalties.
It is estimated that about 2 700 jobs would be created during construction of the mine, which – Gold Fields go-ahead pending – would be completed by the end of 2022.
About 900 workers would be employed once the mine is operational.
Key findings of the February feasibility study include a capital cost of $834-million for construction, a maiden mineral reserve of 3.5-million ounces of gold and 39-million ounces of silver (as declared in December 2018). The gold-equivalent mineral reserve stands at four-million ounces.
Salares is anticipated to have a mine life of 12 years, with a yearly output of two-million tonnes of ore.