Minera IRL has secured environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) approval from The Peruvian Government for its Ollacheau gold mining project.

The company had submitted the ESIA for the project to the Peruvian Ministry of Mines and Energy in December 2012 following three years of environmental baseline studies.

Minera IRL is now planning to secure a construction permit in the first quarter of 2014 and bring the mine into production in 2015.

Minera IRL executive chairman Courtney Chamberlain said securing ESIA approval for the project is ‘a major milestone to move towards the production phase’.

The Ollachea project in southern Peru was discovered by Minera IRL in late 2008, after acquiring the property from Rio Tinto in 2006.

Minera IRL has completed over 81,000m of diamond drilling in 208 holes since acquiring the property and has found significant mineral resources and reserves at Ollachea.

The company said drilling, to date, has defined indicated mineral resources of 10.6 million tonnes grading 4g of gold per tonne of material (g/t Au).

The resources estimated to be 1.4 million ounces of gold at a 2.0 g/t Au cut-off and inferred mineral resources totalling 13.7 million tonnes grading 2.9 g/t Au containing 1.2 million ounces of gold at a 2.0 g/t Au cut-off.

Minera IRL completed a definitive feasibility study (DFS) at the project in November 2012, which indicated an underground mining operation with probable mineral reserves of 9.3 million tonnes grading 3.4 g/t gold containing 1 million ounces.

The Ollachea DFS has scheduled production of over 920,000oz over an initial nine-year mine life at an average site cash operating cost of $499 per ounce of gold produced.