Canadian Edgewater faces criminal accusations over gold project in Spain

Canadian exploration company Edgewater is facing potential criminal charges in Spain for allegedly employing highly polluting technology in its Corcoesto gold project, in the North Western region of Galicia.

A NGO called "la Plataforma pola Defensa de Corcoesto", reports local newspaper El País, filed Friday a legal action against Edgewater’s proposed open pit gold mine, which it is said it will destroy over 770 hectares of ancient forest. The group claims the venture will cause lasting damage to Spain’s natural resources and the environment.

According to the newspaper, Edgewater had previously acknowledged its project would generate about 17 million tons of metal waste, whose arsenic and nickel concentration levels would be above the limits permitted by the Spanish law. The residual materials, adds the report, would likely end up in regional water streams, about 200 metres from the closest community.

None of that information could be confirmed by MINING.com nor was found on the company’s description of the project, available in its website.

But President and CEO, George Salamis, told MINING.com the company "firmly believe there are no bases for this claim," adding Edgewater has engineered and designed the project "with the highest standards and following all regulations."

He added that "the notion of being criminally charged of something in advance of an event that has yet to happen, at a location where we have yet to build a mine or even breaking ground, is totally baseless."

The Spanish group added that Edgewater is planning to utilize 1.49 tons of cyanide and use up to 1.1 million liters of water per day, which is equivalent to the water consumption needs of 6,500 people.

Gold at Corcoesto, located in northwest Spain, approximately 36 km west-southwest of the port city of La Coruña, was first exploited by the Romans. In the last decades, mining companies including Sagasta Gold, Aurifera Gallega, Rio Tinto Minera, Rio Narcea Gold Mines and Kinbauri Gold have been active in the area.