Australian exploration firm Aus Tin Mining has secured the final regulatory approval to proceed with the first stage of its Taronga tin project in New South Wales (NSW).

The company received approval for the mining operations plan (MOP) from the NSW Department of Planning & Environment.

Claimed to be the world’s fifth largest undeveloped tin reserve, Taronga is estimated to treat 2.5 million tonnes of ore per year, producing an annual average of 2,800 tonnes of contained tin over a nine-year mine life.

The stage one operation is expected to start before the end of June, commencing with site establishment and initial mining. The Taronga project has various areas of upside to be tested during the first stage.

“Final approval for Taronga Stage 1 represents a major milestone for the company.”

Aus Tin is also progressing negotiations with potential offtake buyers and exploring opportunities for project funding.

Aus Tin Mining chairman Brian Moller said: “Final approval for Taronga Stage 1 represents a major milestone for the company.

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“An enormous amount of work has historically been completed on the Taronga Project by groups such as BHP and Newmont, but Aus Tin Mining’s exciting programme, including large-scale trial mining and pilot processing, will aim to demonstrate the proof of concept that will enable the development of large‐scale tin mining operations within one of Australia’s more productive tin fields.”

The Taronga tin project is situated 7km north-west of Emmaville, northern New South Wales, within Aus Tin’s wholly owned exploration licence EL8407.

In 2014, Aus Tin Mining completed a pre-feasibility study on the project demonstrating its technical and economic viability.

The project features two major zones of quartz-cassiterite, sheeted vein-style mineralisation.

The stage one development features a 340,000t trial mine within the Northern Zone Ore Reserves and pilot processing facility.

Metallurgical test work supporting the stage one development indicated positive concentrate grade, tin recovery and block model reconciliation.

Aus Tin Mining is focused on the development of the Taronga project and discovery and development of tin and nickel-cobalt mineral deposits. The company commenced tin concentrate production at the Granville project in August 2016.