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The Northern Territory government has approved US-based Vista Gold Corp’s mining management plan (MMP) for its Mt Todd gold project, marking the final major authorization required for the development of the gold mine.

Vista Gold said this week that the receipt of this approval marked the achievement of a significant de-risking milestone that has been the focus of the company for the last three years.

This approval, combined with the previously-approved major environmental permits, recognizes the quality and advanced stage of engineering and project planning, and is a fundamental part of the company’s strategy for gaining greater recognition of the intrinsic value of Mt Todd.

“The approval of the MMP is a landmark achievement for Vista, its shareholders and the Northern Territory. We believe the approval of the MMP distinguishes Mt Todd as an attractive, de-risked, and partner-ready development-stage gold project highlighted by a large-scale production design, low expected operating costs, mining friendly jurisdiction, substantial existing infrastructure, strong social and government support, and all major authorizations in hand,” Vista president and CEO Frederick H. Earnest said.

“At a gold price of $1 900 and a foreign exchange rate of $0.775 to A$1.00, the after-tax net present value is estimated to be $1.7-billion with an after-tax internal rate of return of more than 38.8%. We are committed to realizing the full value of Mt Todd for our shareholders.

“Following extensive consultation with the Jawoyn people and local environmental, community and business stakeholders, we’re very pleased to be another step closer to delivering a project that is expected to provide significant economic benefit to the Northern Territory.

“We would like to thank our employees and consultants for their unyielding determination as they worked diligently and cooperatively with the Northern Territory government to advance the permitting process, and express our appreciation to the people in the surrounding communities for the strong support they have demonstrated for Mt Todd and Vista. We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure the safe and responsible development of Mt Todd.”

Northern Territory Mining and Industry minister Nicole Manison said on Tuesday that the project could create some 450 jobs during construction and 350 jobs during peak construction.

“Mining is a huge job creator for Territorians, employing over 4 400 people directly and we are working hard to make the Territory the best place for exploration and mining investment in Australia.

“The total value of mineral production in the Northern Territory for 2019-20 was A$4.4-billion and establishing new mines creates local jobs for Territorians and significantly boosts our economy,” Manison said.

“This is the fifth major mine approval over the past 12 months in the Northern Territory and a further step to strategically position us as a globally-significant hub for mineral exploration.”
Mt Todd is the largest undeveloped gold project in Australia, and containes more than 7.8-million ounces of gold in resoruce.

A 2020 prefeasibility estimated that the project would require a capital investment of $826-million to produce an annual 413 000 oz/y of gold over a 13-year mine life.