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AMN - MAURITANIA: Key approval for uranium project

The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for Aura Energy's Tiris Uranium Project in Mauritania has been approved by the Mauritanian Government. The approval has been finalised in line with the target schedule for the project.

The Environmental Approval covers all mining and processing activities, including the establishment of all the required management plans for radiation management.

Approval of this key element of the Tiris project permitting process follows the submission of the Mining Lease application for the project in May this year and the subsequent comprehensive process of ministerial and public consultations regarding the impact of the development.

The ESIA, an exhaustive 1000-page document, and Mining Lease application papers were subjected to extensive review by all relevant authorities and key stakeholders, including a stipulated Public Consultation Process before the grant of the Environmental Approval.

Key activities undertaken during the ESIA process, which was managed by a multi-disciplinary group of specialist consultants, included environmental baseline monitoring studies, flora and fauna within and around the tenement area, ecosystem and habitat sensitivity surveys, noise and air quality studies, water studies, and extensive community engagement.

Additionally, the study focused on archaeological and cultural heritage, population and migration patterns of Nomadic tribes in the region. Consultation between the Mauritanian Environment Ministry and International Radiation agencies also formed part of this process.

Aura will be required to set up a radiation monitoring system under the supervision and control of the National Radiation Protection, Nuclear Safety and Security Authority (ARSN). It was also recommended that a quarterly report be submitted on the state of implementation of the environmental and social management plan.

Aura’s executive chairman Peter Reeve said, “For a uranium project one of the most important steps in its path to development is the environmental approval step. Achieving this milestone for Aura’s Tiris Uranium Project on schedule and with the strong support of the Mauritanian Government is another solid step forward for Aura to production and cashflow.

"This step is pivotal as the main project precursor to pursuing production offtake and project financing arrangements.”