Goldcorp working on new plan for El Morro project in Chile

Goldcorp to work on new environmental study for El Morro project in Chile

Canada's Goldcorp (TSX:G), (NYSE:GG) said Friday it has withdrawn an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for its $3.9 billion El Morro gold and copper project in Chile and is already working on a new proposal.

The team in charge of the project, which has been caught up in a legal fight, will have to determine a optimal new development plan that meets Goldcorp's investment return criteria, the miner said.

Chile's Supreme Court suspended the mine’s environmental permit last month, halting all activities at the site.

In withdrawing its EIS, Goldcorp respects the final decision of the Chilean Supreme Court and reiterates its commitment to open and transparent dialogue with all stakeholders,” the company said.

The Vancouver-based company’s president and chief executive officer, Chuck Jeannes, said that while the firm was disappointed with the final ruling it has afforded Goldcorp a “unique opportunity to challenge previous assumptions within the context of evolving industry dynamics.”

Third time’s the charm?

This is not the first time Goldcorp had to suspend construction at the site. It happened in 2012 and then again in November last year.

In April, an appeals court rejected the Diaguita indigenous group’s attempt to halt the project, saying the Canadian gold miner conducted the required consultation. But the group complained Goldcorp had not done it in the way it should have to regain its mining licence. They also said the mine could pollute a local river and they took the case to the Supreme Court.

The Diaguita have also opposed the massive Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) Pascua-Lama project, stalled since 2013.

Goldcorp holds a 70% stake in El Morro. New Gold (TSX:NGD), also headquartered in Vancouver, owns the other 30%. Due to begin operations in 2017, the mine has proven and probable reserves totalling 6.7 million ounces of gold and 4.9 billion pounds of copper.