Emerald Resources NL has signed an environmental contract with the Cambodian Ministry of Environment, securing approval for its wholly owned Okvau gold project.

The environmental approval allows Emerald to accelerate the application for an industrial mining licence, as well as progress the mineral investment agreement.

Under the terms of the contract, the company is required to make several annual contributions to environmental and social funds serving the interests of local communities and ongoing environmental management.

“This contract now allows the remaining licensing to advance in a timely manner.”

The company also needs to provide surety to the Cambodian Ministry of Environment (MoE) in relation to the rehabilitation of the Okvau project in the event of closure.

Emerald Resources managing director Morgan Hart said: “The award of the environmental approval and signing of an environmental contract with the Cambodian Ministry of Environment is a significant advancement in the development of the Okvau gold project.

“This contract now allows the remaining licensing to advance in a timely manner.”

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The company expects to obtain an industrial mining licence covering 11.5km² from the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy in the coming weeks.

The outstanding step remains the finalisation of a mineral investment agreement (MIA), which is not essential for the development and operation of the project.

The company is currently negotiating with the Cambodian Ministry of Economy & Finance in connection with the finalisation of the MIA.

Furthermore, technical due diligence related to project finance is nearing completion.

Once the terms of the finance deal are approved, the majority of the development costs would be arranged.