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Emmerson starts environmental, social study

Potash developer Emmerson (LSE:EML) has started the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) baseline study for its Khemisset potash project in Morocco, a step towards converting its exploration permits to a mining licence.
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Emmerson has started the environmental and social impact assessment baseline study for its Khemisset potash project

Staff reporter

The baseline study is part of the initial work towards a detailed ESIA, which will eventually be part of the application to Morocco's Ministry of Mines to convert the permits.

Emmerson has chosen Morocco-headquartered firm Phénixa to manage the baseline study and develop the framework for the ESIA.

The study will assess the potential impacts of the project on land uses, social settings, and habitat types; soil types, flora, and fauna; climate, topography and elevation; surface and ground water; and archaeology, anthropology and cultural heritage.

Emnmerson CEO Hayden Locke said the ESIA would be key to the mining licence application and local consultants had been chosen to carry it out due to their extensive in-country experience.

"The outstanding results of the scoping study for Khemisset confirmed that Emmerson controls a potentially world-class development stage potash asset and has provided us with the confidence to commence the ESIA process now to ensure our accelerated development timeline remains achievable," he said.

The November scoping study found Khemisset could be a 6 million tonne per annum hot leaching project, producing an average of 800,000tpa K2O over 20 yearshad at a low capital cost to production and "among the highest EBITDA margins in the industry".

The project is expected to have a post-tax net present value of approximately US$1.1 billion using industry price forecasts.

Emmerson's shares have fallen 8% in the past six months to the current 2.89p (US3.71c), which is also 16% lower than when the scoping study was released in November.