Horizonte Minerals Plc HZMHZM ("Horizonte" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has advanced the permitting process for its 100%-owned Vermelho Nickel Cobalt Project ("Vermelho" or "the Project"), located 160 km from the Company's construction-stage Araguaia Nickel Project ("Araguaia"), in parallel with ongoing work on the Feasibility Study which is expected to be published in H1 2024.
The Company hassubmitted the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ("EIA")and the associated Relatório de Impacto Ambiental ("RIMA") with the Pará State Secretariat for Environment and Sustainability ("SEMAS") and it is targeting the approval of the EIA/RIMA and subsequent granting of a Preliminary Licence ("LP") in Mid-2024.
The granting of the LP is the first in a three-stage environmental licencing process to develop a mine in Brazil. Through the granting of the LP, SEMAS confirms that the Project is acceptable from an environmental and social perspective.
Over the course of an 18-month period, Horizonte, in conjunction with Rambol Group ("Rambol") (a leading global environmental and social consultancy firm) together with Integratio (a leading Brazilian social consultancy firm) undertook the collection and analysis of the baseline social and environmental data specified by SEMAS, to document the current physical, biological and social settings at Vermelho. This process was enhanced through leveraging the extensive database of historical environmental and social data previously collected at Vermelho by Vale S.A ("Vale"), the previous owner of the Project. Horizonte acquired Vermelho from Vale in 2017, after Vale had successfully attained an LP for the project and subsequently made a positive construction decision in 2005.
Jeremy Martin, CEO of Horizonte Minerals, commented: "The submission and filing of the EIA/RIMA marks another key milestone along Vermelho's development pathway, as we continue to de-risk our project pipeline. Over the coming months, we will continue to work closely with local stakeholders as Vermelho is expected to contribute significant employment opportunities for the region and deliver significant socio-economic value.
"At a Company-level, we are pleased to be making good progress on the construction of Araguaia, which remains on budget and on schedule to produce first nickel in 1Q 2024, while simultaneously preparing for our next growth phase with Vermelho's Feasibility Study and Preliminary Licence, both expected to be finalised in 2024."