Written by 10:34 am Australia, Top Story, VRX Silica

VRX Silica Advances Towards Environmental Approval for Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project

VRX Silica
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VRX Silica Limited (ASX: VRX) (“VRX Silica” or “Company”), a leading company in the silica sand industry, and its Managing Director Mr Bruce Maluish have announced the update on the Company’s application for environmental approvals at its Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project, located 270 km north of Perth, Western Australia. This update highlights the key milestones achieved in the environmental approvals process and the significance of these developments for VRX Silica’s mining operations. 

Arrowsmith North’s Key Environmental Approval Process Milestones 

  • Acceptance of the Environmental Review Document (ERD)

On June 9th, 2023, VRX Silica announced that the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) had accepted the Environmental Review Document (ERD) for the Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project. This marked the beginning of a critical phase in the environmental approval process.

  • Public Environmental Review (PER) Period

Following the acceptance of the ERD, a four-week Public Environmental Review (PER) period commenced and ran until July 16th, 2023. This period allowed stakeholders and the public to provide their input and feedback on the Project.

  • Summary of Public Submissions

On September 7th, 2023, DWER provided VRX Silica with a summary of the public submissions and feedback received during the PER period, a vital component of the environmental assessment process.

  • Company’s Response to Public Submissions

VRX has now taken a significant step forward by lodging its response to the public submissions with the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia (EPA). This response addresses the concerns and comments raised during the public review, demonstrating the Company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and accountability.

  • EPA Assessment and Ministerial Report

The EPA will now consider VRX Silica’s responses to the public submissions. Following further consultation with the Company, the EPA will prepare an assessment report for the Western Australian Environment Minister, outlining the findings and recommendations regarding the Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project.

Overall, Securing environmental approval for the Arrowsmith North Project is essential for VRX Silica to obtain the other necessary approvals for mining activities. This marks a significant milestone in the comprehensive approvals process for the Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project.

Background to the Proposal and Environmental Approvals Process

The Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project involves various components, including block mining of silica sand, a mine feed plant, a surface conveyor, a pipeline, a processing plant, stockpiles, and other critical infrastructure. The Project site will be accessible via a road connecting the mine to Brand Highway. While the freshwater supply bore, water pipeline and road access are located within the Access Development Envelope (ADE), all other infrastructure will be within Mine Development Envelope (MDE). The proposal also outlines the rehabilitation of native vegetation and environmental protection measures via Vegetation Direct Transfer (VDT).

VRX Silica has been proactive in addressing the requirements of state and federal environmental regulation authorities since acquiring the tenements for the Project. The Company has concentrated on gaining approval for the development of Arrowsmith North.

The EPA assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) began in March 2021, leading to a determination for a ‘Public Environmental Review’ (PER) process. VRX Silica’s Environmental Scoping Document (ESD) was approved in March 2022, and the first draft of ERD was submitted in May 2022, followed by revisions and further information requests. The final ERD, encompassing a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of the proposal, was published for the four-week PER period in June 2023. DWER collected public submissions, which VRX Silica has now addressed.

Upon the EPA’s acceptance and publication of the response to submissions, an assessment report will be prepared, leading to recommendations for the Western Australian Environment Minister. The Minister’s approval, in the form of a Ministerial Statement, will serve as approval for the proposal.

About VRX Silica Limited

VRX Silica Limited is a distinguished pure-play silica sand company listed on the ASX. Led by a seasoned board and management team with extensive industry experience, VRX Silica is significantly progressing in developing its portfolio, comprising five premium, high-purity, extended-life silica sand projects. These include the Arrowsmith North and Arrowsmith Central Silica Sand Projects, located near Eneabba, south of Geraldton, and the Muchea Silica Sand Project, approximately 50 kilometres north of Perth. Additionally, the Company is advancing the Boyatup Silica Sand Project, which is about 100 kilometres east of Esperance. The Company owns all of these Projects, strategically located within Western Australia. 

Locations of the Silica Sand Projects of VRX Silica Limited

Figure 1: Locations of the Silica Sand Projects of VRX Silica Limited

About Mr Bruce Maluish, Managing Director of VRX Silica Limited

Mr Bruce Maluish, the Managing Director of VRX Silica Limited, boasts an extensive career with over four decades of experience. Throughout his professional career, Mr Bruce Maluish has occupied prominent leadership positions in companies such as the Monarch Group of Companies, Abelle, Forsyth Mining, Matilda Minerals, and Hill 50. He is widely recognised within the industry for his expertise in managing and overseeing various critical aspects of business operations, such as initiating and promoting initial public offerings (IPOs), from the early stages of exploration to achieving full-scale production. 

Regarding the present announcement, the Managing Director of VRX Silica, Mr Bruce Maluish, commented, “We are pleased to have progressed to the next stage of the environmental approvals process for Arrowsmith North and appreciate the public interest in the proposal. The submissions received during the public review period were reflective of that interest. 

The proposal has the potential to underpin a project lasting many decades. It underscores the enormous economic contribution that could flow to the Irwin Shire in particular and Western Australia more broadly. 

We again thank shareholders for their continued patience as we have worked on securing the key approvals for Arrowsmith North.” 



Investor’s outlook

  • VRX Silica remains committed to the responsible development of the Arrowsmith North Silica Sand Project and the protection of the environment. The progress in the environmental approval process marks a significant step forward, bringing the Company closer to its long-term goals.
  • VRX Silica has already received confirmation from the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water for an accredited assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This means the Project aligns with federal environmental standards, a positive investor factor.
  • The recent announcement on environmental approvals signifies the Company’s ability to progress its silica sand projects and promises a prosperous future.
  • As of October 31st, 2023, VRX Silica’s share price stood at AUD 0.093 per share, with an average 52-week stock trading range between AUD 0.180 and AUD 0.085 per share.
  • As of October 31st, 2023, VRX Silica had 583.38 million shares on issue and a market capitalisation of approximately AUD 54.25 million.

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