Australian exploration company LCL Resources has secured an environmental licence for its Miraflores deposit from CARDER, the environmental agency of Risaralda, Colombia.

The licence was granted after approval for LCL’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Miraflores project. This project is a subset of the Quinchia gold project, with a 0.87-million-ounce (moz) gold resource, which includes the 0.45moz Miraflores reserve.

LCL considers the EIA approval a ‘significant’ development. The environmental licence win is said to be a substantial final approval needed to enable the progression of the Miraflores project’s development.

The EIA assessment and the licence include a broad range of considerations and do not impose additional conditions to those submitted in the design and plan, the company noted.

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By GlobalData

LCL is yet to secure a ‘forest use permit’, but it does not consider it as a relevant permit until it takes a development decision on the Quinchia gold project.

The licence is based on the Miraflores feasibility study conducted in 2017, which described the project as an underground operation using the retreat longhole open stope method.

Miraflores is also projected to have a net present value of $72.3m (A$114.38m) with a 25% internal rate of return and is expected to have a payback of 3.6 years.

LCL managing director Jason Stirbinskis said: “This is a major milestone for Miraflores that also de-risks the greater Quinchia Gold Project of which it is a part. We can build upon the Miraflores approvals in the future and apply the same standards and rigour to submissions for the Quinchia Gold Project development.

“We see the awarding of the environmental licence as further evidence of an improving working relationship between the mining industry and government and look forward to continued government support for new mine development in Colombia.”

The Quinchia gold project is located 100km south of Medellin and 70km south of the company’s Andes gold project.

Occupying 10,500 hectares, it hosts multiple reserves and exploration targets including Miraflores, Tesorito, Chuscal and Ceibal.