The long-awaited and twice postponed report from international experts on the environmental impact study (EIS) for Newmont and Buenaventura’s US$4.8 billion copper-gold project, the Conga mine, is finally in the Peruvian government’s hands, reports news state agency Andina.
Peruvian environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, did not comment on the results, but said he will address the country and the press at 6 pm ET today and that the results will be published online tomorrow for greater transparency.
The report establishes the viability of a proposed water solution for Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) and Buenaventura’s copper-gold project located in in the northern Peru region of Cajamarca. The U.S. company has been accused by locals of potentially disrupting water supplies in the region.
Reuters is reporting that the team has recommended to the Peruvian government that Newmont should make “substantive improvements” before being allowed to restart work on its massive project.
Newmont owns 51.35% of Minas Conga. The Colorado-based company hopes to begin production either in 2014 or 2015, producing between 155 and 235 million tons of copper a year at the site, if it gets permission from the Peruvian government.
Newmont stopped construction in November last year, after violent protests forced Peru’s government to declare a state of emergency in the area.
More demonstrations are expected if the report supports Newmont’s contention that the development will not hurt water supplies. The protests and their political consequences could delay the project further even if the report is favourable to the miners.