Nova exploration manager John Bartlett, Sirius managing director Mark Bennett and company secretary Anna Neuling walking on top of the Nova deposit.
Nova exploration manager John Bartlett, Sirius managing director Mark Bennett and company secretary Anna Neuling walking on top of the Nova deposit.

Just days out from announcing the results of a definitive feasibility study into development of its Nova-Bollinger project, Sirius Resources yesterday began the environmental approvals process for its nickel-copper development on the fringe of the Nullarbor.

The referral document lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority describes a project with an initial 12-year underground mine life that will require 1100ha of vegetation to be cleared for the mine site, infrastructure and access roads.

The Nova-Bollinger area is 110km east of Norseman and will require a 40km private road to connect to the Eyre Highway.

Sirius said it did not expect the clearing activities to result in the loss of fauna habitat unique to the area, while the ground disturbance should also have no impact on the status of conservation-significant fauna species.

Sirius expects to begin underground mine development and plant construction next year, in line with the company's previous announcements, and first ore to be processed in 2016.

A scoping study placed a $471 million development cost on Nova-Bollinger and pointed to robust economics because of the orebody's grade and width.

Sirius has told investors the feasibility study was to have been completed by the end of last week, and the results should be publicised early this month for insights into the development's payback period and expected cash costs. The study will enable Sirius to finalise offtake and funding deals for Nova-Bollinger.

Sirius shares gained 3¢ to $3.43.

The West Australian

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