Highlands Pacific has received clearance from the National Court of Madang to commence operations at its fully constructed $1.5bn Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea.

The National Court of Madang has removed an existing injunction that had been placed on the project relating to the potential environmental impact of the deep sea tailings placement system being built as part of it.

Highlands Pacific managing director John Gooding said in a statement, “Given the significant delays posed by the environmental legal actions of the past 18 months and the loss of revenue to the project, landowners and the PNG economy said it would be extremely disappointing and counterproductive to seek to tie up this project in further legal actions through appeals by the plaintiffs.”

The Ramu nickel project is expected to produce about 31,150tpa of nickel and 3,300tpa of cobalt for at least 20 years, once it is operational.

Highlands Pacific holds 8.56% interest in the project, and is planning to increase its interest to 20.55% in the future.