Genmin, an Australia-based iron-ore producer, has obtained final approval for the social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA) for its Baniaka iron ore project in Gabon.

The clearance from Gabon’s Ministry of Environment and receipt of the environmental conformance certificate marks the final prerequisite to Baniaka’s mining permit issuance.

Upon receipt of mining permit, the company can begin development and operations at the project.

The MP is a licence issued by a decree of the President of Gabon, which will confer the holder with exclusive right to mining for a mineral substance.

The company has applied for a large-scale mining permit for an initial term of 20 years to enable at least five million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) mining at the project.

Genmin managing director and CEO Joe Ariti said: “We are delighted to receive Ministerial approval of the SEIA and the issue of the certificate of environmental conformance; a critical milestone to Genmin’s target of achieving production at Baniaka in the second half of 2024.

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“The certificate of environmental conformance is the final prerequisite for the issue of the large-scale mining permit for Baniaka, which we expect to be granted during the coming month.”

“I would like to thank the Ministry of Environment in Gabon for its support and guidance in the SEIA process, our partners at WSP-Golder, a global sustainability consultant, and local social and environmental consultant, TEREA. Without their respective efforts and expertise in navigating the SEIA process, this timely outcome would not have been possible.”

The Baniaka iron ore project is fully owned by Genmin. It is located in south-east Gabon and comprises the Baniaka and Baniaka West exploration licences, which cover a total area of 881km².