Ecuador court endorses environmental permits for Dundee’s Loma Larga gold project

Canadian miner Dundee Precious Metals (TSX: DPM) has scored a win in Ecuador as a local court upheld the validity of the company’s environmental permits for exploration at its Loma Larga gold underground project.

The Judicial Labour Unit of the southern city of Cuenca also reaffirmed Dundee’s mining concessions, by ruling that the mining ministry had not violated certain rights relating to the protection of water and nature in granting Dundee’s permits.

Non-government organizations and local agencies had filed a constitutional protective action against Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition by non-government organizations and local agencies, claiming the authority had breached community rights.

“This is a positive step forward for the Loma Larga project,” president and CEO David Rae said in the statement.

Dundee added the court’s oral decision determined the company will have to include the local indigenous populations in its consultation process before proceeding to the exploitation phase.

The company noted it had already planned to do so as part of project development.

The court’s written verdict is expected to be delivered within a week’s time, Dundee said, after which the claimants will have three days to file an appeal. During this time, the company’s drilling activities will remain paused, pending its assessment of the written decision and the impact of any appeals that are filed.

Dundee’s added Loma Larga to its portfolio in 2021 after acquiring junior miner IVN Metals. The deal handed the company other four concessions in Ecuador — Carolina, La Rebuscada, Las Peñas and Tierras Coloradas.

Other than its Ecuador assets, the company’s current asset portfolio includes two mines in Bulgaria, a copper smelter in Namibia and the Timok gold project in Serbia.

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