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The South African Mineral Resources Department has granted an integrated environmental authorisation (IEA) to Bushveld Minerals’ Mokopane vanadium project in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

The project is located 65km west of Polokwane and 45km north-northwest of Mokopane.

Bushveld received authorisation in accordance with terms of Section 24 L of the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998).

The department compiled the environmental impact assessment as part of the mining right application (MRA), which was submitted on 12 March 2015.

"The IEA is a crucial step in the approval process for a mining right application."

The next step in the MRA process will be receipt of the approval of Bushveld’s mine works programme and social and labour plan.

Bushveld Minerals chief executive Fortune Mojapelo said: "The Mokopane vanadium project remains a key part in the company's vanadium strategy and offers meaningful synergies with the Vametco opportunity being pursued.

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“The IEA is a crucial step in the approval process for a mining right application.

“We welcome this important approval, the next step will be the approval of the mine works programme and the social and labour plan. These will pave the way for the granting of the mining right."

The Bushveld project comprises the MML layer, the MML-Hanging wall layer, and the AB Zone adjacent and parallel magnetite layers. It is located in an important vanadium-producing region, responsible for 26% of the world’s vanadium supply.

It is compliant with the black economic empowerment prescriptions of the Department of Mineral Resources.