COLOMBIA – The government of Colombia surprised Greystar Resources of Vancouver with a request that it conduct a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its Angostura gold-silver open pit in the northeast part of the country. The original EIA was filed on Dec. 22, 2009, but the government is now insisting that the project comply with changes to the Mining Code made on Feb. 9, 2010.
The changes to the code prohibit mining or exploration in the Paramo ecosystem. This is an area of mostly glacial valleys and plains with lakes, peat bogs and grasslands intermingled with shrubs and forests. The system is defined by elevation as well as by fauna, flora, etc.
Columbia’s Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development (MAVDT) wants the Angostura project redesigned to occupy an elevation below 3,200 metres. As currently designed, almost all the project facilities and infrastructure are at a higher elevation. In addition, half of the proposed open pit resides above 3200 metres. Redesigning the project would necessitate identifying and acquiring new land positions to house displaced facilities and initiating new environmental base line studies.
Greystar has not yet determined the feasibility of redesigning the Angostura project to comply with MAVDT’s request. The company was in the midst of preparing a definitive feasibility study due out in the second half of 2010. However, this new requirements will severely impact the project schedule and may have a material effect on its economic viability, says the company. (Please see www.GreystarResources.com.)
Other Canadian mining companies active in Colombia have been quick to tell investors that the MAVDT request in no way affects their projects.