Columbus Gold Corp. (CGT: TSX, CGTFF: OTCQX) (“Columbus”) is pleased to provide an update on the Montagne d’Or gold project.
Montagne d’Or continues to garner strong local support as a catalyst for economic growth of French Guiana. Socio-economic stakeholders and local elected officials and MPs, including 4 out of 5 local labour unions; Rodolphe Alexandre, President of French Guiana; Georges Patient, representing French Guiana in the upper house of the Parliament of France; Lénaïck Adam, delegate of the National Assembly representing French Guiana in the lower house of Parliament; David Riché, President of the association of mayors of French Guiana; Sophie Charles and Paul Dolianki, mayors of the western communes of St-Laurent du Maroni and Apatou, respectively, are all very in favour of the project.
As required by French regulations, the Montagne d’Or joint-venture (Columbus 44.99% and Nordgold 55.01%) provided its official decision last November to French authorities to move forward with permitting and development of the Montagne d’Or gold mine following the conclusion of the public hearings held in 2018 under the mandate of the French National Commission of Public Debate (the “CNDP”) (see Columbus Gold news release dated November 27, 2018). The decision takes into account the recommendations of the CNDP to make certain project improvements and modifications.
In this regard, additional engineering studies are currently underway in respect of the following technical components of the project:
- Tailings storage facility redesign to lower the height of retainment dams;
- Waste rock storage redesign;
- Detailed water management/balance;
- Feasibility level study for on-site power generation, including solar energy; and
- On-site explosive production.
In 2018, an inter-ministerial taskforce was formed by the French government to assess the social and economic benefits of, and the impacts associated with the development of the gold mining industry in French Guiana. The taskforce consulted with all stakeholders and delivered a report to the French government last December. The report makes recommendations on the conditions for the development of the gold mining industry in French Guiana, with a particular emphasis on Montagne d’Or, the most advanced large-scale gold project in French Guiana. The report has not yet been made public by the French government.
In addition, a new environmental body was created by the French government on April 25, 2019, named the “Conseil de défense écologique” (the “Counsel”), chaired by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, with its first meeting held on May 23, 2019. With respect to the mining sector, the French Prime Minister communicated the new environmental standards which mining projects will have to be in conformity with and will be defined in a new mining code to be enacted by the end of 2019. The Counsel considered the Montagne d’Or project was not yet compatible with these new standards. The Montagne d’Or joint-venture is making good progress to directly address the French government’s comments and is moving ahead to develop a compatible project that meets the government’s expectations on environmental protection, which will also take into account the new mining code currently being drafted.
Upcoming milestones for mine permitting include:
- Grant of mining concession renewals;
- Completion of technical studies for committed project modifications; and
- French mining code reform.
Reform of the French Mining Code
In May, the Minister of Environment announced a reform to the mining code by the end of 2019. The reform is aimed to allow the development of French mining resources based on the highest environmental and social standards, bringing certain procedures of the mining code into line with the Charter of the environment. The reform is currently underway.
The mining, environmental and construction permit applications for mine development will take into account the new provisions of the mining code reform, which will be applicable to Montagne d’Or.
Rock Lefrançois, President & CEO of Columbus, commented: “The formation of the Counsel and reform of the French mining code will modernize the mining industry in French Guiana and balance the priorities of all stakeholders.”
Mining Concession Renewal
In accordance with Article L 144‑4 of the mining code, renewal applications for 25-year terms were submitted to the French authorities for two mining concessions prior to the expiration date of December 31, 2018. These two mining concessions cover the Montagne d’Or gold deposit and the Élysée gold prospect. The Montagne d’Or joint venture allowed six non-core concessions to lapse. The Montagne d’Or project currently consists of two mining concessions in the process of renewal, and two exploration permits covering 93.5 square kilometres.
An official written confirmation was transmitted by the French authorities to all companies that hold mining concessions in French Guiana, stating that in accordance with Article L 142‑9 of the mining code, operations can continue on mining concessions while renewal applications are in process.
About Columbus Gold
Columbus Gold is French Guiana’s leading gold exploration and development company. Columbus holds a major interest in the world-class Montagne d’Or gold deposit. A feasibility study for Montagne d’Or was filed in May 2017, and the mine permitting process is currently underway. Columbus is also earning into the Maripa gold exploration project where past drilling has returned excellent near surface results, including 36 meters of 4.3 g/t gold. Columbus’ objective is to assemble and progress a portfolio of high-quality gold exploration projects in the highly prospective and underexplored Guiana Shield, as Montagne d’Or advances through permitting.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD,
President & CEO
For more information contact:
(604) 634-0970 or
Certain statements and information contained in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable U.S. securities laws and “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws, which are referred to collectively as “forward-looking statements”. The United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a “safe harbor” for certain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements and information regarding possible events, conditions or results of operations that are based upon assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. All statements and information other than statements of historical fact may be forward-looking statements. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “seek”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “budget”, “plan”, “estimate”, “continue”, “forecast”, “intend”, “believe”, “predict”, “potential”, “target”, “may”, “could”, “would”, “might”, “will” and similar words or phrases (including negative variations) suggesting future outcomes or statements regarding an outlook. Forward-looking statements in this and other press releases include but are not limited to statements and information regarding: its plans, or modifications thereunder, to develop Montagne d’Or ; the construction and development plans for the Montagne d’Or gold mine, including anticipated timing thereof; the satisfaction of additional requirements to the construction of the Montagne d’Or gold mine, including but not limited to, the submission and processing of mine permit applications; the timing and rendering of a decision regarding the development of the gold mining industry in French Guiana; the development of a project that meets the French governments expectations; the timing of the French mining code reform; mine permitting milestones; and the earning into of the Maripa gold exploration project. Such forward-looking statements are based on a number of material factors and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Some of the known risks and other factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements are described in the sections entitled “Risk Factors” in the Annual Information Form of Columbus Gold Corp., available on SEDAR under Columbus’ profile at www.sedar.com. Actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Columbus undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements included in this press release if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as otherwise required by applicable law.