The company behind a £150 million project to re-open a tungsten mine near Plymouth has secured an environmental permission described as "crucial" to the massive project.
The Environment Agency has issued an environmental permit to Wolf Minerals UK Ltd to operate a mining waste facility at Hemerdon.
The metals exploration company has described the permit as a key milestone in the advancement of its mining project.
Last month, Wolf expressed confidence that the permit would be granted, as the Environment Agency embarked upon its month-long public consultation.
Set to begin extracting minerals in 2015, the Hemerdon mine will have a 10-year lifespan and produce 5,000 tonnes of tungsten concentrate and 500 tonnes of tin a year.
The Environment Agency said that its decision followed ‘careful and thorough consideration’ of the permit application and that it had consulted with organisations including Public Health England, Natural England, Devon County Council, South Hams District Council and Plymouth City Council.
Judy Proctor for the Environment Agency said: “We have also considered the information and comments submitted to us by members of the public and those representing them, as well as those who have attended our two consultation events.
The Environment Agency has set limits and conditions within the permit to ensure that people and the environment are properly protected, with conditions including regular site inspections.
Wolf’s UK operations manager Jeff Harrison said: “It’s a significant step forward and one of the last boxes to be ticked. It’s great news.
“We expect work to begin on January 6 to begin removing scrub from the site area.”
He added that Wolf’s ongoing recruitment process would continue in 2014, with 12 staff already in place.
Once in operation, it is anticipated that the Hemerdon mine will deliver over 200 full-time local jobs.