Rio2’s wholly owned Chilean unit, Fenix Gold Limitada, has secured Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval for its Fenix Gold Project in Chile.

The approval from the Committee of Ministers in Chile enables the company to proceed with the necessary statutory permitting and financing.

Construction activities at the project are due to restart in 2024.

The Fenix gold project, previously known as the Cerro Maricunga project, is located in the Copiapo Province in Chile’s Atacama region.

Rio2 executive chairman Alex Black said: “Finally, after many months of patiently waiting, we welcome the decision of the Committee of Ministers to support our advancement of the Fenix Gold Project.

“We have designed Fenix Gold as an example of the very best of modern mining, bringing not only significant investment and jobs to the Atacama region but also extensive protection of the environment with a particular focus on flora and fauna in the area we will be operating.”

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By GlobalData

Expected to become one of the Americas’ largest undeveloped gold oxide, heap leach projects, the Fenix Gold Project has an estimated measured and indicated mineral resource of 4.8 million ounces of gold.

Rio2 said the investment of around $235m in initial and sustaining capital by a junior miner is “significant” for the Chilean gold mining sector.

This project is expected to create at least 1,200 jobs during the construction stage and around 550 jobs during its operational period, which is expected to be 17 years.

The planned mine will be a run-of-mine heap leach operation, which eliminates the need for crushing or tailings storage facilities, thus reducing the environmental impact.

In 2020, Rio2 selected HLC Ingeniería y Construcción, Anddes Asociados and STRACON as the lead process plant construction and civil contractors for the Fenix Gold Project.