Cape Alumina mining company said it had secured a 12-month extension to complete an environmental impact statement for its Pisolite Hills mine and port project in western Cape York, Queensland.

The extension was granted after Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson’s declaration that the nearby Wenlock River Basin was a wild river area. The decision threw the viability of the project into doubt.

The declaration bans mining within 500 metres of the river’s tributaries.

The company has until September 26, 2011, to submit its environmental statement to the state and federal governments.

Cape Alumina’s managing director, Dr Paul Messenger, said the additional time was needed to allow the company to complete a review of the Pisolite Hills project and understand the full impact of the declaration on the enviro-nmental investigations and reporting done to date.

“As a result of the declaration the proposed 7Mt/y Pisolite Hills mine and port project is no longer viable,” Dr Messenger said.

“It is critical for Cape Alumina to fully review the Pisolite Hills project and evaluate other opportunities in western Cape York with the aim of restoring value for our shareholders,” he said.