Nicaragua-focused Condor Gold (LON:CNR) has been given an 18-month extension to complete the conditions of an already granted key environmental permit for its proposed open pit at the La India gold project, in the country’s western region.
The company now has until the end of July 2021 to meet the requirements imposed by Nicaraguan authorities before the 2,800 tonnes of ore per day gold mine can be built.
This is not the first time Condor Gold has been granted an extension. In July last year, it announced that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource (MARENA) had given the company an extra year to help it complete technical engineering tests and other studies required prior to construction.
The objective, chairman and chief executive Mark Child said in the statement, is to de-risk La India project and finish all studies ahead of a decision to whether go ahead with building the mine.
So far, the company has completed the mine schedule, waste dump plan, as well as water and sewage management study for the offices and accommodation for the processing plant. The forestry inventory and reforestation plan of 10 new trees for every tree cut down has also been finalized, Child said.
Consultants are currently working on designs for the tailings storage facility and the surface water management system.
As part of the conditions Condor Gold is seeking to fulfill, the miner has made offers to buy the surface rights from all landowners within the mine site infrastructure, 50% of which have accepted.
Designs for a fuel station for backup power are almost completed, and studies to connect the processing plant to the national electricity grid are underway.
The La India project envisions the construction of a main pit, which hosts an economic mineral reserve of 6.9 million tonnes grading 3.1 grams per tonne gold for 675,000 ounces of gold in total.
It also includes two high-grade satellite feeder pits — America and Mestiza — located about 2km and 4km, respectively, from La India’s processing plant. While they are not fully permitted yet, the smaller pits are expected to increase the main pit’s production by 50% to 120,000 ounces of gold annually during a seven-year mine life.
Condor Gold plans to begin by mining the “mini pits” first, trucking the ore to a nearby processing plant.
The company initially staked concessions in Nicaragua, Central America’s largest country, in 2006. Since then, mining has significantly taken off in the country due to the arrival of foreign companies with the cash and expertise to tap into its reserves.