Minera IRL’s Don Nicolas gold mine in Argentina gets green light

Minera IRL (LON:IRL) confirmed Wednesday the approval of the environmental impact assessment and the granting of a development permit for the Don Nicolas gold project in Santa Cruz, Argentina.

The company  has been considering a range of project financing options for the project, said a spokesperson for the Latin American gold miner.  The objective is to have financing in place to allow development to commence in 2013 with commissioning expected in late 2013 or early 2014.

"The EIA approval and granting of the development permit for our Don Nicolas Gold Project, Patagonia, is a significant step towards bringing the mine on-stream.” said Courtney Chamberlain, Executive Chairman of Minera IRL.  “We have received outstanding support from the authorities in Santa Cruz with the permitting process taking only five months.  Don Nicolas is a very attractive, conventional open pit, carbon-in-leach gold project with a high IRR with much additional upside potential.  We continue to advance financing options to allow project development during 2013.”

The project has an estimated capital cost of $56 million, with operating costs of $528 per ounce. The payback period for the project is projected to be two years or less.