Strategic Minerals PLC (LON:SML) told investors it has now formally lodged its Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) for the planned operations at the Leigh Creek mine, 500 kilometres north of Adelaide.
The documentation was lodged with the South Australian government and it follows a prior draft submission.
Strategic Minerals said that it feels confident that an approval will be forthcoming before the year-end, given the level of detail in the draft version and the encouragement it has received to date from the South Australian government.
Such timing would pave the way for full-scale operations starting in 2021, it added.
The company also highlighted positive copper pricing trends which have meant the project’s anticipated economic had become more robust, and, as recently stated, third-parties have been engaged to update the capital cost assessment for the project.
"The lodgement of the full PEPR and the strong recovery in copper prices increases the likelihood that 2021 will see the full-scale re-commencement of operations at Leigh Creek,” John Peters, Strategic's managing director said in a statement.
“While the process of getting Leigh Creek into operation has taken longer than initially anticipated, the goal of developing a second income stream within SML remains of key strategic importance in building long term wealth within the company."