A wholly owned subsidiary of Astur Gold, Exploraciones Mineras del Cantabrico (EMC) has filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Economy and Employment of the Principality of Asturias in Spain, after it refused the proposal for the Salave underground gold project.

EMC submitted its case to the Asturias Superior Court of Justice in Spain in order to challenge the ministry’s decision and gain time to consider the options for recovering project costs incurred to date, as well as projected lost profits.

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The ministry’s decision was based on a non-binding negative report by the Cantabrian Hydrographic Confederation (CHC) relating to water quality projections.

"Astur Gold and EMC have invested considerable financial resources to advance Salave as a modern, environmentally responsible gold mining operation."

However, CHC’s reports on Salave have been repeatedly questioned for their lack of rigour and analysis, by EMC, specialised independent consultants and the Geological Survey of Spain.

Astur Gold CEO and president Douglas Turnbull said: "We are extremely disappointed with the ministry’s decision.

"Astur Gold and EMC have invested considerable financial resources to advance Salave as a modern, environmentally responsible gold mining operation.

According to Astur Gold, the development proposal primarily focuses on the importance of environmental considerations, and the company said it is committed to managing the project responsibly using best environmental practices.

"Our activities to date have resulted in the creation of desperately needed jobs in the region and a positive decision approving a new underground mine has the potential to create future economic opportunities, including significant employment and tax revenue for Tapia de Casariego and the Principality of Asturias," Turnbull added.