Perth-based miner South32’s Hermosa project has received approval from the United States Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.
Located in Arizona, Hermosa is the first mining project added to the FAST-41 process, which aims to be efficient and transparent and involves critical infrastructure projects meeting rigorous criteria to demonstrate its benefit.
Hermosa is currently the only advanced project in the US which could supply two federally designated critical minerals, zinc and manganese.
By having FAST-41 approval under its belt, it could assist South32 in obtaining federal permits for the development of the Taylor and Clark deposits at Hermosa.
A feasibility study for the Taylor zinc-lead-silver deposit is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.
The zinc-manganese-silver Clark oxide deposit has advanced forward a feasibility study with a pilot plant commencing production in recent weeks, which will provide sample qualification product for potential customers.
South32 chief executive officer Graham Kerr recognised the FAST-41 approval of Hermosa as a significant milestone for the company.
“The inclusion of Hermosa as the first mining project added to the FAST-41 process is an important milestone that recognises the project’s potential to strengthen the domestic supply of critical minerals in the US,” Kerr said.
South32 Hermosa president Pat Risner said the project becoming a covered FAST-41 project will make the rigorous federal environmental review and permitting process for this project more transparent, predictable, and inclusive for all stakeholders.
“We are committed to working closely with the US Forest Service, cooperating agencies, Native American tribes, and local stakeholders in Santa Cruz County in Arizona to develop this project in a way that benefits the community, minimises impact on the environment, and creates opportunities across the region,” Risner said.