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ASX-listed potash company Danakali confirms that the Eritrean Ministry of Land, Water & Environment’s Department of Environment, or DOE has confirmed acceptance of the finalised social & environmental management plans for its Colluli project.

Eritrea – The acceptance follows an extensive DOE impact review committee review of the SEMPs in the context of the previously approved social & environmental impact assessment (SEIA), numerous meetings, and extensive comments provided to and actioned by the Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC).

The Colluli project is fully permitted for execution following the signing of the Mining Agreement between CMSC and the Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mines and the subsequent awarding of the requisite mining licences in early 2017.

The finalisation and acceptance of the SEMPs represents another strong milestone for CMSC as it prepares for project execution at Colluli.

Background on SEIA

CMSC commissioned a number of baseline environmental and social assessments to identify, characterise and understand the biophysical and socio-economic environments that potentially interact with and may be influenced by the development of Colluli.

Results of these assessments formed the basis of the SEIA which was completed in March 2016 by MBS Environmental, and approved by the Eritrean Ministry of Land, Water and Environment in December 2016.

The project area is in a semi-desert agroecological zone of Eritrea. The region is sparsely populated, and the majority of the project is located on barren land that is of little use to communities and wildlife; however, the proposed site access road and pipeline corridor cross an important rangeland that is grazed extensively by livestock and wildlife and this dynamic has been given due consideration in the SEIA and SEMPs.

There are no permanent settlements within the exploration lease, and few settlements within the area surrounding the deposit area. The communities closest to the mine site are 20 km to the north-north west and 30 km to the north.

There are no communities immediately within the proposed pipeline corridor, though there are three communities within 5 km. The closest of these is 1.2 km away. The closest communities to the water intake treatment area are all approximately 6 km from the proposed site.

Stakeholder engagements have been held with representatives of local communities. A deep understanding of each community’s interests has been developed. The project could create over 500 permanent jobs for locals and Eritrean nationals in Module I, and over 650 (cumulative) once Module II is online, and benefits from strong local support.

The SEIA showed a low environmental impact of the project due to its remote and barren setting and identified significant beneficial social impacts. Risks identified in the SEIA are mitigated through the SEMPs. The SEIA and SEMPs have been completed consistent with the equator principles.

Background on SEMPs

CMSC has developed a number of environmental and social management and monitoring plans to assist with management of potential project impacts. These mitigation measures are being implemented to ensure impacts are avoided or managed. Monitoring programs have been determined and will assist in ensuring impacts are consistent with predictions documented in the SEIA.

CMSC will ensure the availability of all necessary resources, including personnel and financial resources needed to conduct all environmental and social management, monitoring and mitigation activities at the Project throughout the construction, operation and closure phases.

CMSC are currently integrating the SEIA, SEMPs and the Sustainable Development Framework and associated policies into an International Finance Corporation (IFC), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO), compliant Environmental Social and Safety Management System (ESSMS).

CMSC will ensure all contractors and subcontractors involved with the project develop and implement their own ESSMS that is compliant with the Colluli ESSMS.

Danakali Executive Chairman, Seamus Cornelius, says:

“We are committed to having a significantly positive impact in Eritrea. Colluli stands to provide significant social and economic benefits, creating hundreds of permanent jobs for Eritrean nationals and catering for community interests.

“Danakali has experienced significant community support and is focused on sustainable development for the benefit of all stakeholders. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the government and local communities of Eritrea and achieving long term economic, social and community benefits for the country and its people.”