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Emmerson says environmental approval process for Khemisset potash project nears completion

Emmerson PLC (LON:EML) said the environmental approval process for its Khemisset potash project in Morocco is nearing completion.

The company is waiting to be called for an evaluation meeting with the Environmental Evaluation Committee (EEC), expected to be received imminently, although the timing is subject to Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in Morocco.

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment approval will be granted following the EEC meeting.

Emmerson has also lodged applications for renewal for the remaining research permits that were not part of the mining licence area with a positive outcome expected in the third quarter of this year.

“Excellent progress has been made on many fronts as we look to fast-track the project to production and take advantage of the strong potash market fundamentals, particularly in Africa given we are ideally located to supply this market,” said chief executive Graham Clarke.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team and our consultants for the exceptional work that has brought our ESIA application to the final step of approval, particularly when the impact of COVID on the ability to conduct face to face meetings is taken into account,” he said.

“Notably, we are also continuing positive discussions with strategic investors and due diligence for the wider project debt finance, as we focus on achieving our overall timeline to commence early construction works in Q4 2021.”  

It said it was in talks with potential strategic equity investors, debt financiers and providers of alternative finance (such as royalties and streams).

Negotiations have continued towards securing the strategic equity investor. The company confirmed that there are several interested groups, any one of which could have a transformational effect on the overall financing of the project.

The company expects to be able to provide a more substantial update on this, as well as the project debt and broader financing process in the second half of 2021.

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