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Coronavirus measures will delay metal projects in North Australia

Northern Territory Police
Northern Territory Police

New rules to stop COVID-19 from reaching epidemic levels will postpone a metal producer from working on two resources developments in the Top End.

The federal and Northern Territory governments and the Central Land Council (CLC) recently decided to declare the Northern Territory a special control area, which is patrolled by the NT Police or Australian Army to help contain the Chinese coronavirus (covid-19).

Date pushed back

Castile Resources confirmed the move would postpone early work on its Rover Copper Project, 80km southwest of Tennant Creek and Warumpi Base Metals Project, 300km west of Alice Springs.

“The company now expects delays to its planned exploration drilling program that was due to commence in the middle of April 2020,” Castile managing director Mark Hepburn said in a statement to the stock market.

No entry

The special measure effectively suspends access permits to all Aboriginal Land Trusts until late April 2020. This will delay non-essential travel to and throughout the NT due to the vulnerability of remote Aboriginal communities.

“Castile will cease all non-essential travel to the NT until advised it is safe to do so by the relevant authorities,” Hepburn said. “The company will also immediately comply with all CLC access permit restrictions as the health and safety of local communities is paramount at all times.”

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The company will try to continue some work with the help of locals who already live in the special control area.

“Castile will continue with all activities associated with the pre-feasibility study utilising local labour and contractors in the township of Tennant Creek in consultation with our professionals based in Perth,” the proponent said.

“Ongoing works on the pre-feasibility study include metallurgy and processing design studies, tailings dam design, road network design, an environmental impact study, camp accommodation planning and collation of the geophysics and drilling data from the Andromeda tenement purchase into Castile’s master database, all of which can take place in accordance with the travel restrictions.”

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