VRX Silica (ASX:VRX) updates on environmental approval process for Arrowsmith Central

Image Source: Company Announcement (22 June 2022)


  • VRX Silica Limited (ASX:VRX) has released a crucial update related to its Arrowsmith Central Silica Sand Project.
  • Arrowsmith Central has moved to the next stage of the environmental approval process.
  • A Public Environmental Review (PER) level of assessment will be undertaken by the Environmental Protection Authority for Arrowsmith Central.

Australia-based VRX Silica Limited (ASX:VRX) has achieved a new milestone in the development of its silica sand projects. The Company’s Arrowsmith Central Silica Sand Project has moved to the next stage of the environmental approval process with the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) of Western Australia.

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In line with the VRX Silica’s expectations for Arrowsmith Central and the EPA’s approach at Arrowsmith North, the EPA will evaluate the proposal at a Public Environmental Review (PER) level of assessment as needed under section 40(2)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986. The Company informed that the PER period is about four weeks.

VRX Silica focussed on becoming a global player in high-quality silica sand supplies

Preparation of an ESD

VRX Silica is preparing an Environmental Scoping Document (ESD), which specifies the environmental studies that are needed to inform the assessment of the Arrowsmith Central project. The below figure summarises the list of these environmental studies:

The Company has already initiated these studies and will finalise them before the end of the PER period.

VRX Silica highlighted that the preparation of an ESD represents a fundamental step in the EPA administration procedures to inform the Environmental Impact Assessment of Arrowsmith Central. The Company remains confident that Arrowsmith Central has addressed the Environmental Principles, Factors and associated Objectives of the guidelines for assessment.

Must Read: Why Arrowsmith North is a near-term development opportunity for VRX Silica (ASX:VRX)?

Significance of EPA decision

The EPA’s decision will allow the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) to set its level of assessment at Public Environmental Review to align with the EPA decision.

Until the EPA process is complete, other government agencies will be restricted from approving any approvals related to the full development of Arrowsmith Central (noting exploration and investigations are not restricted). Notably, this does not impact VRX Silica’s current development plans.

Arrowsmith Central Vegetation

The mining development area of Arrowsmith Central has been selected to avoid environmentally sensitive areas, so that no large trees suitable for Carnaby Cockatoo roosting or nesting are affected.

In fact, VRX Silica has developed a progressive and unique mining and rehabilitation method for all its silica sand projects. This method is known as Vegetation Direct Transfer (VDT), which provides rapid and comprehensive regeneration of mined areas on the basis of continuous rehabilitation as mining progresses. Notably, the root structures in the loose sand are relatively shallow at 200-300mm in depth at the VRX Silica’s selected mine areas. These root structures are ideally suited for the VDT system.

The VDT method removes and replaces a 400mm-deep sod with topsoil to the mined area containing most of the native flora and invertebrate fauna remaining intact. The method has been developed to deliver the best rehabilitation outcome for the recalcitrant sedges & grass species.

VRX Silica shares are trading at AU$0.135 as of 11:04 AM AEST.

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