Zonte Metals files lawsuit against Colombia over rejection of licence


Canada-based gold and copper explorer Zonte Metals has sued Colombia’s Department of Antioquia mining authority, accusing the body of not processing the company’s application. 

The company has stated that the case is now at the Consejo de Estado (Special Court) level and proceeding forward.

The move is in connection with an application to explore an area between titles on top of the permitted Gramalote Gold deposit, which is held by AngloGold Ashanti and B2Gold through a joint venture company Gramalote Colombia.

Zonte filed the application in 2013, while Gramalote Colombia also made an application regarding a licence for the area in 2015. The company claims that under the mining code in Colombia, applications are processed on a first-in-first-out basis. 

"Zonte claims that development cannot be allowed at the contested site until the case has been decided."

Zonte alleged that Columbia's Secretary of Mines was processing Gramalote Colombia’s application despite the Canadian company's application still being active. 

Following admission of the case, Gramalote Colombia’s application has been suspended by resolutions issued from the Consejo de Estado and Gobernación del Departamento de Antioquia (Government of Antioquia) until the legal proceedings initiated by the company has reached a suitable conclusion.

Zonte claims that development cannot be allowed at the contested site until the case is decided.