Responsible Mining: Continental Gold Wins Crucial Enviromental Permit
Canada-based Continental Gold announced November 30 that it finally won a crucial environmental permit that paves the way for a US$600 million gold-mining development project at Buritica, Antioquia.
Once industrial-scale production starts in 2019, the mine and upgrading plant would produce an average of 253,000 ounces of gold per year over a projected 14-year mine life. The project would generate some 1,500 jobs during construction and 1,000 permanent jobs thereafter.
Unlike the illegal and criminal gold mining that has been carried out in the area – resulting in toxic mercury dumping, environmental destruction, money-laundering by criminal gangs and avoidance of taxes and royalties – Continental Gold will undertake socially responsible mining, as outlined in the company’s first-ever “sustainability” report (see “Continental Gold Boosts Investment in Socially Responsible Mining in Antioquia,” Medellin Herald, 27 September 2016).
The resolution from the environmental licensing authority (Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales, ANLA) “authorizes Continental Gold to expand its current small-scale operating mine to a fully integrated mining and milling operation,” according to the company.
“Specifically, the resolution allows Continental Gold to operate and construct all mining and milling-related facilities, including a processing plant up to a maximum of 3,200 tonnes per day.
“In addition, the resolution allows the company to mine alluvial material required for construction during the pre-production and production phases of operations and requires the company to follow strict and environmentally-conscious best practice protocols for the operation and closure of the mine,” Continental added.
Commenting on the license approval, Continental CEO Ari Sussman said: “The completion of permitting for the Buriticá project is a strong testament to Colombia’s willingness to embrace responsible mining and its desire to reinvigorate the gold industry for a country that holds the title as the most prolific gold producer in Latin American history.”
With project permitting now in place, Continental added that a “project debt facility arrangement is nearing completion.”
“The company also expects to receive the Mining Technical Work Plan (Programa de Trabajo y Obras or ‘PTO’) approval from the Secretary of Mines of Antioquia in the next few days. The PTO includes the detailed work plan that supports the Environmental permit application submitted to ANLA,” according to Continental.