Chilean court gives Goldcorp's El Morro big win

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Copiapó court of appeals in Chile's northern region III voted unanimously against a new injunction that a group of local indigenous communities had filed against the El Morro project, a 70:30 JV between Canadian miners Goldcorp (TSX: G, NYSE: GG) and New Gold (TSX, NYSE MKT: NGD).

Last November the Copiapó court issued a stay and suspended further development of the project pending the review of the injunction the communities had filed against it, a month after it received the approval from environmental authorities.

The three-judge panel rejected the legal action that sought to revoke the project's environmental resolution (RCA) from October 2013 that authorized construction of the US$3.9bn gold-copper project.

The opponents of El Morro claimed that the project's RCA was in violation of a number of rights, including the right of consultation with local communities under the International Labor Organization's convention 169 on indigenous consultation.

On this issue, the court said the local communities failed to inform the proper authorities in due time if the project might infringe their interests during the consultation process, noting that there were no issues of illegality regarding the approval of the project's RCA.

The lawyer representing the indigenous communities told local media that he was planning to file an appeal with the supreme court.

When contacted by BNamericas, a Goldcorp public relations representative in Santiago said the company was reviewing the ruling. Goldcorp representatives in Canada were unavailable for immediate comment.

El Morro has proven and probable reserves in the order of 8.17Moz gold y 6.12Blb copper.

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