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Twin Hills an example of how to deal with environmental triggers

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The Damara Gold Belt in Namibia where Osino Resources is developing their Twin Hills project. WhyAfrica visited Twin Hills in 2022 as part of its annual Road Trip through Southern Africa. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Twin Hills an example of how to deal with environmental triggers 

One of Namibia’s most exciting new mining projects, Osino Resources’ Twin Hills gold project, close to the town of Karabib in the Erongo Region, is a step closer to being fully permitted after the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism issued the project with an Environmental Clearance Certificate.

Twin Hills is a good example for greenfield projects in Namibia of how to deal with possible stumbling blocks that triggers listed activities under the Environmental Management Act, 2007 (EMA).

During preliminary work at Twin Hills, Osino discovered some historical grave sites within the project area, which, according to provisions in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) had to be reported to the National Heritage Council (NHC) for review, guidance and management.

After the Osino team discovered the grave sites, the company conducted a field review and documentation of the burial sites as an addendum to the archeological baseline study.

Following this, an additional reconnaissance fieldwork program was carried out in the area to confirm that no other graves exist. All documents were submitted to the NHC for review, and it is anticipated that the graves will have to be relocated, with consent from the descendants.

Following extensive stakeholder engagement and environmental baseline studies in 2021 and early 2022, the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (MEFT) thoroughly reviewed the project’s ESIA and EMP, found no material flaws in the scope and assessment of the project and issued it with an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC).

As per the EMA (2007) the proposed mining project triggered listed activities under Namibia’s EMA and such activities require an environmental clearance certificate.

Application for clearance certificate (Twin Hills an example of how to deal with environmental triggers)

In 2020 Osino appointed Environmental Compliance Consultancy, an independent environmental consulting firm, as the Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) in accordance with EMA 2007 Regulation 3 to conduct an environmental and social impact assessment and apply for the required ECC.

The MME is the competent authority for the proposed project, and accordingly, the application was submitted to MME to carry out their designated functions. Once an ECC is issued, the certificate becomes effective from the date endorsed and remains effective for a period not exceeding three years as per the EMA 2007.  ECCs are eligible for renewal every three years.

The issuance of the ECC is one of three outstanding conditions for the conclusions of a full mining license for the Twin Hills gold project, to be issued by Namibia’s MME.

According to Heye Daun, Osino’s co-founder, President and CEO, once the conditions relating to grave relocations have been met, the first of the three main conditions to the issuance of the full and unconditional mining license will be achieved. “The two remaining conditions are the sale of a 5% local Namibian minority equity participation (under negotiation) and the fulfilment of certain affirmative action and poverty alleviation measures which are customary under Namibian law,” says Daun.

The Osino team has also been preparing to apply for site-specific secondary permits which are operationally specific. The timeframes for approvals of these secondary permits generally vary between three to six months, and the application process has been initiated.

Osino plans to start with early works like road relocation, ground preparations and camp construction in the second half of 2023. The initial permits to be applied for include road and river relocation/diversion, vegetation removal, water abstraction, wastewater discharge and accessory works permits, amongst others.

PFS shows 13-year open-pit mine life (Twin Hills an example of how to deal with environmental triggers)

Twin Hills’ most recent technical study, a pre-feasibility (PFS) study released in September 2022, outlines a 13-year open-pit mine life with an average annual gold production rate of 169koz per annum at all-in sustaining costs of USD930/oz in the 10 years of operation. This is based on 2.15 Moz in reserves.

According to Daun, the issuing of an ECC is a milestone that takes Osino a step closer to being fully permitted.

We recognise that there are still a few outstanding approvals and consents to be achieved, and the additional conditions to the mining license. However, the whole process once again confirms Namibia as one of the world’s top mining jurisdictions, where it is possible to permit and advance a large-scale open pit gold mining project, according to global best practices, from inception to approval within less than three years. We commend our Namibian regulators and service providers for this remarkable achievement,” says Daun.

Osino has a commanding ground position of approximately 8,000km2 located within Namibia’s prospective Damara sedimentary mineral belt, mostly in proximity to and along strike of the producing Navachab and Otjikoto Gold Mines. The company has an active exploration program targeting gold mineralisation that fits the broad orogenic gold model.

Twin Hills is favorably located north and north-west of Namibia’s capital city Windhoek. By virtue of their location, the projects benefit significantly from Namibia’s well-established infrastructure with paved highways, railway, power and water in close proximity. Namibia is mining-friendly and lauded as one of the continent’s most politically and socially stable jurisdictions.

Twin Hills an example of how to deal with environmental triggers

WhyAfrica visited Twin Hills in 2022 as part of its Southern Africa Road Trip. Photos of the road trip can be viewed on our website at www.whyafrica.co.za or on our Instagram page.  

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Twin Hills an example of how to deal with environmental triggers

 

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