The Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mines has awarded three mining licences to the Asmara Mining Share Company (AMSC).
In the AMSC joint-venture company, Sunridge Gold owns 60% and the Eritrean National Mining has 40%.
Encompassing a total area of 19.3km², the licences cover the four advanced projects, Emba Derho, Adi Nefas, Gupo Gold and Debarwa, on the Asmara copper-zinc-gold project near Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, Africa.
AMSC will retain an additional 83.12km² of exploration licences, which include the Adi Rassi copper-gold deposit and the Kodadu gold deposit.
Prior to receiving the award, Eritrean Minister of Energy and Mines Sebhat Ephrem signed a mining agreement on 11 September to give AMSC exclusive rights to the mineral title and rights to conduct mining operations within the licence areas for 20 years.
Sunridge Gold president and CEO Michael Hopley said: "The acquisition of the mining licences is another important step forward for AMSC and Sunridge, and we are grateful for the continued support of the Government of Eritrea.
"We now remain focused on our plans to finalise financing arrangements for Phase 1A, the mining and shipping the high-grade copper and gold direct shipping ore from Debarwa."
Phase 1A is expected to start commercial production in the third quarter of 2016.
During this phase, open-pit methods will be used to mine the high-grade copper direct shipping ore (DSO) from the Debarwa deposit and later on crushed and loaded into containers and transported 140km to the port facility at Massawa for shipping.