JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Vancouver-based New Gold on Wednesday said it would continue to pursue all avenues to ensure the continuous operation of its Cerro San Pedro gold/silver mine, in Mexico, after a district court denied its appeal against a 2009 ruling cancelling the mine’s environmental-impact statement (EIS).
The Fifth Auxiliary District Court, in Mexico City, on Wednesday denied the gold miner’s appeal against the September ruling made by the Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice, which ordered the Mexican environmental regulatory agency, the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) to cancel the EIS by November 2009.
The company's shares closed the day at C$5,39, about 11% down on Tuesday's close.
The miner said that the legal dispute was related to a land use issue, adding that there were no environmental problems with the mine.
New Gold told shareholders that while it had received notification from the district court about the latest decision, it had not yet been provided with the full decision and the written reasons for the denial of the appeal.
The company was expecting to see the detailed report in the coming weeks and would review the decision, after which it planned to file an appeal with a Collegiate Appeals Court in Mexico City.
It was also considering filing an application with the Mexican Supreme Court to request it to hear the case.
Meanwhile, the producer said it remained in discussion with SEMARNAT, as well as the Mexican environmental enforcement agency PROFEPA, to work towards the uninterrupted operation of the mine.
“While we are disappointed by this most recent decision, we will continue to pursue all avenues to ensure the continuous operation of Cerro San Pedro,” said New Gold president and CEO Robert Gallagher.
The company expects to produce between 330 000 oz and 360 000 oz of gold in 2010, growing to over 400 000 oz in 2012.
Cerro San Pedro mine, which started operating in 2007, was expected to produce between 80 000 oz/y and 100 000 oz/y of gold, as well as 2,25-million ounces a year of silver, over its nine-year mine life.