Lundin Gold subsidiary Aurelian Ecuador has submitted a phase change application (PCA) to the Government of Ecuador, seeking permission to go ahead with plans to develop Fruta del Norte (FDN) gold project in the country.
The PCA has been submitted with reference to Lundin Gold’s La Zarza concession, which is the project host.
The government will review and render a determination on the phase change of La Zarza within 60 days of the PCA’s submittal, Lundin said.
Upon receiving approval for the PCA, Lundin will have up to six months of time to finalise an exploitation agreement for FDN.
The Ecuador Government and Lundin have already completed the negotiation of a definitive form of exploitation agreement for FDN earlier this year.
Lundin Gold president and CEO Ron Hochstein said: "The submission of the phase change application for the La Zarza concession is a significant milestone in the development of the Fruta del Norte project.
"The completion of this application on the heels of the release of positive feasibility study results demonstrates the company’s determination to advance FDN and build a high-grade gold mine in Ecuador."
Located approximately 80km east of the City of Loja, FDN is among the largest and highest grade undeveloped gold projects in the world.
To date, nearly $279m has been spent on exploration and development of the project, which includes more than 150km of drilling.
The pre-feasibility and feasibility work, as well as optimisation and ranking studies on the project have already been completed.