Goldcorp has withdrawn its Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the El Morro copper-gold project in the Atacama Region of north-central Chile. Goldcorp is 70% owner and operator of the project. New Gold holds the remaining 30%.
The Atacama Region environmental authority issued an Environmental Assessment Resolution approving the El Morro EIS in October 2013. However, in October the Chilean Supreme Court issued a final ruling that invalidated earlier approval, based on objections from the local Diaguita community. The court said new consultation with the community is required.
In withdrawing the EIS, Goldcorp said it respected the Supreme Court decision and reiterated “its commitment to open and transparent dialogue with all stakeholders and to upholding the highest standards of health, safety, and environmental stewardship everywhere the company operates.”
The Goldcorp statement also said the El Morro project team has initiated new studies to determine an optimal new project development plan that meets the company’s investment return criteria.
Goldcorp President and CEO Chuck Jeannes said, “While we were disappointed with the final Chilean court ruling, it has afforded us a unique opportunity to challenge our previous assumptions within the context of evolving industry dynamics. The goal of this effort is to deliver an even stronger project that provides significant mutual benefits to the surrounding community, our employees, and our shareholders.”
As of December 31, 2013, the El Morro project, on a 70% basis, had proven and probable reserves totaling 449.5 million mt containing 6.73 million oz of gold at a grade of 0.47 g/mt gold and 4.89 billion lb of copper at a grade of 0.49% copper. The project is based on a 36-km2 land package that has significant addition exploration potential.