Condor Gold soars as Nicaragua project won’t relocate residents

Shares in Condor Gold (LON:CNR) (TSX:COG) jumped more than 5% in London on Monday after the Nicaragua-focused miner submitted an amended Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for a processing plant at its India gold project, which eliminates the need to resettle about 1,100 people.

The new evaluation, part of the company’s application for an environmental permit, includes a redesigned open pit, the relocation of the processing plant 1,200 meters from the village and the possible elimination of the southern waste dump, among other changes, Condor Gold said in the statement.

“Condor has been in constructive dialogue for several months with Nicaraguan Government officials at Minister level to permit the construction and operation of a new gold mine at Mina La India,” the company’s chief executive Mark Child said.

Condor’s technical team believes the La India project is both technically viable and economically attractive with a redesigned open pit that does not require community resettlement. 

“I am delighted to say that Condor’s technical teams believe that the La India Project is both technically viable and economically attractive to proceed with a redesigned open pit that does not require community resettlement and also includes the relocation of the processing plant approximately 1,200 metres from the village,” Child noted.

The company initially staked concessions in Nicaragua, Central America’s largest country, in 2006. Since then, mining has significantly taken off in the country thanks to the arrival of foreign companies with the money and knowledge to tap into its reserves.

According to an independent study published last year, by exploiting just 0.3% of Nicaragua's land area, the mining sector has been able to double gold production and increase silver output by up to seven times in the last 11 years.

Today, gold is the nation’s third largest export, Child said in an interview with MINING.com last month.

Aware of the country's potential, the company has invested $45 million there to date, completed over 70,000 meters of drilling on its flagship La India asset, and produced two PEAs and a PFS.

In addition to permitting a base case, Condor Gold’s strategy is to prove a major gold district of 4 to 5 million ounces of gold.

According to a 2014 prefeasibility study, La India holds an open pit constrained probable gold reserve of 6.9-million tonnes, grading 3 g/t gold for 675,000 ounces of the precious metal, producing 80,000 ounces annually for seven years.

The project contains a mineral resource in the indicated category of 9.6-million tonnes grading 3.5 g/t gold for 1.08-million ounces of the metal and an inferred resource of 8.5-million tonnes grading 4.5 g/t for 1.23-million ounces of gold.

The firm also has three other concessions, where exploration is actively taking place. In November, the team struck it lucky as it discovered another vein on the 313 km² concession package, covering 98% of the historic La India Gold Mining District.

Nicaragua’s gold production is supplemented by small scale artisanal mining of placer and alluvial placer gold, particularly in the regions that form what is known as the “mining triangle”: Siuna, Rosita and Bonanza, where small-scale gold extraction has been the dominant trade since 1880.

Condor Gold's stock closed 4.76% higher at 55p.

Condor Gold soars as Nicaragua project won’t relocate residents

Other companies currently present in Nicaragua are Canada’s B2Gold and Australia’s Oro Verde. (Map courtesy of Oro Verde.)