The company noted that the planned lodgement of updated information to the draft Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) is delayed, to allow the upgrade of the documentation.
It previously anticipated the submission by the end of August and the updated approach was recommended to the company by its consultants, which suggest that it will “open the way” to approval before the end of the year.
"The company continues to move the Leigh Creek copper mine forward with an expectation of operations commencing early 2021, subject to finance,” John Peters, Strategic Minerals' managing director said in a statement.
“This is likely to lead to significant cash flows during 2021. At the same time, the company is actively seeking funding to enable the early 2021 commencement of production and continues to review the planned operations to maximise returns from the project."
Additionally, the company noted that during its endeavours to secure project level funding for the mine it has received feedback from potential investors in relation to its feasibility study analysis.
This included a request to update the likely capital cost of developing the Lynda/Lorna Doone deposit, which is scheduled to commence during the third year of the mine’s operation and is slated to be funded out of cash flows.
Strategic Minerals noted that it is currently organising an independent third party to provide the update on the likely capital cost of developing Lynda/Lorna Doone.
It said it has also taken the opportunity to fine tune some of key assumption variables of the study, focused on the further enhancement of profitability, and, it is assessing the use of a mini Solvent Extraction Electronic Winning (SX-EW) plant process which would provide potential to produce LME-grade copper cathode for direct to market sale.
The company, meanwhile, also highlighted improved copper pricing back above ‘pre-COVID’ levels – to trade above US$3 per pound, marking a 2-year high.