(AIM:SML ) said Leigh Creek Copper Mine has lodged a draft program for environment protection and rehabilitation ("PEPR") with the South Australian government.
The lodgement of the draft PEPR is an important step to fully re-opening operations and producing copper at Leigh Creek which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Strategic Minerals.
Strategic acquired the Leigh Creek Copper Mine in March 2018, which is situated in the copper rich belt of South Australia, and brought the project into production in April 2019.
Once the regulatory approvals of the PEPR are complete, which generally takes up to three to four months, LCCM can look at re-starting operations subject to financing.
The directors believe that LCCM is ‘ideally placed’ as a second income stream for the company with a short development time frame and low capital costs to first production.
Shares in Strategic Minerals were opened flat 0.55p on Thursday morning.
The company said it was unsure as to whether approval timing would be impacted by Covid-19 but highlighted the negative impact the pandemic has had on copper prices.
However, it said that the fall in copper prices has ‘largely been ameliorated’ by a concurrent drop in the USD/AUD exchange rate.
"Whilst the Leigh Creek project is taking longer to progress than anticipated, the Board considers that LCCM, which has a book value of US$6.8m, is a key asset within its portfolio,” said John Peters, MD of Strategic Minerals.
The group also highlighted the “continued strength” of its Cobre iron ore tailings project in New Mexico which the board expects will produce around US$3m in sales and US$1.5m in after-tax cash this year.
Peters said this will provide “adequate scope” to locate and execute with a joint venture partner.
“Again, this emphasises that, subject to financing, a second income stream for the group is relatively at hand,” he added.
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The group said it will apply for a liquefied natural gas ("LNG") import licence for Ireland and has reached a number of confidentiality agreements with a global supplier of LNG and and an owner of LNG regasification vessels.
British car manufacturing came to a screeching halt in April, down 99.7% against the same month last year. It was the lowest output since the Second World War with just 197 premium and luxury sports vehicles rolled off factory lines, with 45 of those sent to UK customers.
The group has released its final results for the period ending 31 December 2019 and has highlighted the surge in revenue as largely driven by a £8.6m or 34% contribution from environmental services firm, Watbio, which the company snapped up in December 2018.