The Algerian mining regulator has awarded a mining permit for the Tala Hamza zinc project to mining company Terramin Australia.

The issue of the permit signifies that the project has satisfied all of the country’s regulatory, financial and environmental requirements. The project can now proceed towards development.

The permit will now enable mining and processing operations of two metric tonnes per annum (tpa) of ore instead of the 1.3tpa anticipated in the 2018 feasibility study.

The increased volume indicates enhanced returns during the expected mine life of the project, which exceeds 20 years.

The permit also encompasses all areas of land needed for the mine’s operation, including mining, processing, haul roads, ore stockpiles, tailings, dams, concrete handling and maintenance and administration.

Terramin Australia executive chairman Bruce Sheng said: “Terramin is exceptionally delighted to have received the mining permit for Tala Hamza. The mining permit is the most critical factor in any new project development and is the most important achievement towards project implementation.

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“Having this mining permit finalised and issued by the Algerian mining regulator has been an enormous accomplishment for the entire team at Terramin including our board, management and all staff who have been associated with this major world-class project. I would like to personally thank all those involved.

“On behalf of the Terramin board and management team, we would like to thank the Algerian regulators for their cooperation and support throughout this entire process and our Algerian partners for the solid business relationship we have developed and their continued willingness of working closely with us to achieve this incredible milestone.”

The Tala Hamza zinc project is located near the Mediterranean Sea, 15km from Béjaia, Algeria.

It is owned by Western Mediterranean Zinc, a joint venture between Terramin and Enterprise Nationale des Produits Miniers Non-Ferreux et des Substances Utiles Spa.

This project has resources of 68.6 million tonnes at 4.6% zinc and 1.2% lead at a cut-off grade of 2.5% zinc equivalent.

The deposit is located within the 125km² Oued Amizour permit and has several potential additional prospects for lead-zinc and copper.

Béjaia will offer extensive infrastructure such as an international airport and deep water port for the zinc project. The location is also beneficial in terms of grid power, water and proximity to European zinc smelters.