Minera Florida withdraws EIA for US$25mn tailings dam

- Monday, September 5, 2011

Minera Florida withdraws EIA for US$25mn tailings dam

Minera Florida, the Chilean subsidiary of Toronto-based Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI, NYSE: AUY, LSE: YAU), has withdrawn an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a US$25mn tailings dam, a source from the environment ministry's (MMA) metropolitan region evaluation service told BNamericas.

The tailings dam, designed to use the thickened tailings disposal (TTD) method, was for waste material coming from a plant that will reprocess old tailings at the operation. The plant is currently under construction and involves an investment of US$75mn.

The dam was also expected to receive fresh tailings from the current processing plant at Florida.

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The reasons for the withdrawal of the EIA were not disclosed by the company.

Following the submission of the EIA in mid-July, the project for the new tailings facility received observations from almost all of the regulators taking part in the evaluation process, the source said.

The company requested the withdrawal of the document before it was notified about the amendments, the source added.

OLD TAILINGS

The project to reprocess old tailings at Minera Florida is expected to be completed late in 2011, CEO Peter Marrone said previously.

The new plant will process close to 6Mt of waste material dumped at the current tailings dam, with average grades of 1.2g/t gold and 1.4g/t silver at an average rate of 100,000t/m.

The project is expected to contribute around 40,000oz of gold equivalent to current production, which totaled 105,604oz in 2010 and is forecast to come in at 115,000-130,000oz this year.

The EIA was approved by the MMA in early April.

In Chile, Yamana also owns the El Peñón mine. The company has the Jacobina, Chapada and Fazenda Brasileiro operations in Brazil, and started operations last July at the Gualcamayo mine in Argentina.

Yamana has four projects that are expected to commence production in 2012 and 2013: Mexico's Mercedes, and Brazil's C1 Santa Luz, Pilar and Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique.

Total gold equivalent output is expected to reach 1.7Moz/y by 2014 from the 1.05Moz churned out in 2010.