The referendum that was meant to be held on March 24 to decide on mining activities in Girón Canton, near the Loma Larga property of TSX-listed IVN Metals, has been called off.
The referendum was previously called by the Ecuadorian National Electoral Council, but was opposed by a group of community members of San Gerardo. A judge on Wednesday ruled in favour of the local group, a move which IVN CEO Candace MacGibbon welcomed.
“We are very pleased that this decision ensures the rights of the local group and those of our surrounding communities are upheld and respected. We are encouraged that the Constitutional Court will ultimately determine the constitutionality of the referendum using the appropriate legal process provided for within Ecuadorian law and that the referendum will be suspended until such time. We continue to maintain strong local support and will work closely with the Ministry of Energy and Nonrenewable Resources and our local communities towards the responsible and sustainable development of the Loma Larga gold/copper/silver project.”
Loma Larga is one of five strategic mining projects identified by the State Ministry. A 2018 feasibility study confirmed the viability of the project, which is intended as a 3 000 t/d operation initially, focusing on the high-grade areas and producing 267 000 oz/y of gold in the first four years.
Total production in a mine life of 12 years will be 2.6-million ounces of gold equivalent, at a cash cost of $540/oz, an all-in sustaining cost of $609/oz and an all-in cost of $768/oz.
The feasibility study calculated, on an after-tax basis, an internal rate of return of 24.7% and a net present value of $621-million, with a payback period of 2.6 years.