A still from a video about the exploration for copper near the historic Cangai mine site.
A still from a video about the exploration for copper near the historic Cangai mine site. Costillo Copper

Cangai copper exploration license restored

Exploration for copper at the old Cangai mine may resume after the NSW Resources Regulator lifted suspension notices over the work.

The notices were held by mining companies Total Mineral Pty Ltd and Total Iron Pty Ltd, who fall under the auspices of Perth Based Castillo Copper.

The regulator stated that on December, the exploration licenses were suspended due to a number of serious compliance issues being identified during an inspection.

Castillo began exploration work in mid 2017, however after local environment group Clarence Environment Centre sent a report to the NSW EPA asking to investigate various issues, in November 2018 the NSW Resource Regulator inspected the site.

On December 21, the resource regulator announced that they had identified various non-compliant practices in contravention to their license, including clearing and excavation works undertaken outside of approved limits and the drilling of five bore holes without approval.

Castillo Copper announced a trading halt on the same day to the Australian Securities Exchange, which is still in force.

In their announcement today, the Resources Regulator said they conducted an inspection of the area on May 24 to verify remedial actions, and have revoked the suspension notices.

In a post on their website, Castillo Copper's Chairman Peter Meagher said: "The Board is very pleased that exploration activities can resume at Cangai Copper Mine, as this forms a pillar for our plans to transform CCZ into a mid-tier copper group."

The company said as part of the rehabilitation work, they had:

  • Implemented controls to ameliorate impacts to the environment associated with prospecting operations
  • Appointed a suitably qualified independent expert to complete a site-based performance and risk assessment of surface disturbances associated with prospecting operations;
  • Developed and implemented adequate controls recommended by the independent expert to minimise harm to the environment arising from prospecting activities;
  • Submitted a report detailing impacts to the environment identified by the site-based performance and risk assessment then implemented control actions to ameliorate impacts/ minimise risk carried out by an independent expert and
  • Appointed an independent expert to complete a compliance audit.

The report said that all the disturbed sites had been effectively rehabilitated and had cost approximately $300,000.

Castillo Copper said they are now in negotiations with the Resources Regulator to secure an enforceable undertaking agreement whereby the license holders will each agree to a series of measures to ensure the ongoing safe management of CCM and protect the surrounding environment.

Upon execution of the enforceable undertaking, CCZ would detail all key terms and request a resumption in trading.

The Resources Regulator said they will continue to monitor compliance with exploration licences 8625 and 8635, and take appropriate compliance action where required.

John Edwards from Clarence Environment Centre said Castillo Copper should set up a consultative committee to engage the community in the process.   He said he approached the Castillo to head up a committee a year ago.    Mr Edwards said he was concerned by the risk of contamination and pollution and believed it came down to members of the public to report issues.   


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