Atalaya hits snag in Proyecto Touro permitting, stock declines

The Proyecto Touro project in Galicia, Spain. Credit: Atalaya Mining Plc

Atalaya Mining (TSX: AYM) announced Wednesday that the regional government of Galicia, Spain, has turned down the company’s Proyecto Touro environmental impact statement (EIS), citing concern over the mine’s impact on the Ulla river and related protected ecosystems.

As noted by a press release issued by the Galicia government, a negative EIS for Proyecto Touro had been signed and will be formally communicated to the mines, energy and industry department of the region. The decision was based on two reports that form part of a wider evaluation, consisting of 15 reports produced by different departments of the Xunta de Galicia, the collective decision-making body of the government.

The Proyecto Touro mining operations are opposed by thousands of local people. Credit: The Gaia Foundation

The two reports challenge the ability of the company to guarantee that there will be no environmental impact on the Ulla River and related protected ecosystems, which are located downstream.

As a result, the company is now awaiting the formal communication from the Xunta de Galicia and will evaluate potential next steps for the project, which could include an appeal of the decision and/or the clarification of the questions raised by the reports.

The Proyecto Touro copper project comprises several deposits, of which four – Arinteiro, Vieiro, Bama and Brandelos – have previously been mined; and two – Monte de las Minas and Arca – have not.

According to a 2018 PFS, the project has proven and probable reserves of 90.91 million tonnes grading 0.43% copper for 392,000 tonnes of contained copper

According to a 2018 prefeasibility study (PFS), the project has proven and probable reserves of 90.91 million tonnes grading 0.43% copper for 392,000 tonnes of contained copper. The PFS envisages the construction of an open-pit mine and concentrator with average annual production of 30,000 tonnes of copper and 70,000 ounces of silver in concentrate.

“We are very surprised by the public statements made by the representative of the Environmental Department of the Xunta de Galicia,” CEO Alberto Lavandeira stated.

“We will continue to explore all possible avenues to develop the Proyecto Touro and shall build on the excellent work performed by a very large team of world-class specialists, including all the Universities of Galicia, for over two years and containing over 15,000 pages of reports, all of which have been questioned without the company being further consulted.”

Shares of Atalaya Mining dropped by 8% at market open Wednesday. The company’s market capitalization is approximately C$449.7 million.

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