Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso has signed a prelegislative consultation decree that will guide the formal comment process for the draft environmental consultation regulation as part of the environmental- and social-impact assessment (ESIA) approval process for mining projects.
Mining exploration and development company Adventus Mining – majority owner of the 215 km2 Curipamba copper/gold project, which has a completed feasibility study on the shallow and high-grade El Domo deposit – along with exploration and development company Salazar Resources, which holds a 25% stake in the project, have collectively said this decree builds on the technical ESIA approval granted by the government of Ecuador in May and the investment contract it approved in November.
Upon completion of the comment process for the regulation, which is expected shortly, Lasso is expected to enact the regulation through a Presidential decree. From there, the participants expect two rounds of community consultations led by the government of Ecuador.
These community consultations are expected to be similar to the many community consultations led by the participants since the discovery of the El Domo deposit within the Curipamba project concessions in 2008.
Current guidance from the government of Ecuador is that the regulation comment period and subsequent final consultation process governed by the regulation are expected to require seven to nine months to achieve the signed and full approval of the El Domo ESIA, at which point full construction activities can begin.
During this period, the participants are expected to finalise four other necessary permits for construction to begin.
These permits include a Water No Affect Permit for discharge, covering potential impact to any water sources; a water usage permit to govern surface water capture during construction; a tailings infrastructure and waste storage approval permit, where a certificate of technical feasibility has been received; and an explosives permit.
The process of acquiring these permits have advanced well this year, with strong government engagement, which followed the publication of the El Domo feasibility study and submission of the ESIA report in December last year.