Dundee Precious Metals Inc. [DPM-TSX] said it has received a court decision related to the permitting process for its Loma Larga gold-copper-silver project in Ecuador.
The company said a decision on the appeal of the constitutional protective action filed against the Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition (MAATE) was delivered to Dundee by the provincial court of Azuay, in Ecuador.
Based on the company’s preliminary analysis, the decision reaffirmed Dundee’s mining concessions for the Loma Larga project, and clarified that free, prior and informed consultation of certain local indigenous populations must be carried out by the state, which the company said it had already planned as part of its development of the project.
Dundee said the decision also held that environmental consultation with communities in the project’s area of influence and certain additional reports on the impact of the project on water resources and the Quimsacocha national recreation area would need to be provided by the MAATE to the court before the project is advanced to the exploitation phase.
“As we assess the court’s decision, we remain committed to the highest applicable standards for environmental protection and stakeholder engagement in line with International Finance Corp standards,’’ said Dundee President and CEO David Rae.
“DPM will be engaging with the government to outline the next steps for the consultation activities and, based on the extensive environmental work completed to date, we will work with the MAATE to provide any additional detail as quickly as possible,’’ he said.
“We will continue to take a disciplined approach to the future investment and advancement of the Loma Larga project based on the receipt of key milestones and the overall operating environment in-country.”
Dundee recently said it continues to progress the updated feasibility study for the Loma Larga project, which it secured via the acquisition of the shares of INV Metals Inc. it did not already own. The study is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. The company has said it received technical approval for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a 69 kV power line and launched the associated public consultation process.
Loma Larga is a gold-copper-silver project that has the potential to produce an annual average of 200,000 ounces of gold in its first five years of production, Dundee has said.
Life of mine production is estimated to be approximately 170,000 ounces per year at an attractive all-in sustaining cost, net of by-products of approximately US$630 an ounce.
Loma Larga offers a strong reserve base and economic profile with approximately 2.6 million gold equivalent ounces of high-grade mineral reserves. That material is expected to support an initial 12-year min- life. First production is anticipated by the 2024-2025-time line.
On Tuesday Dundee shares rose 1.9% or 17 cents to $9.17. The shares currently trade in a 52-week range of $10.78 and $5.40.