Canada-based gold producer Goldcorp is set to proceed with its El Morro gold and copper mine project in Chile, after a court rejected three appeals by farmers and indigenous communities to halt the project.
The $3.9bn El Morro copper and gold mine in Chile is 70%-owned by Goldcorp and 30%-owned by New Gold.
In November 2013, the Huascoaltinas Diaguitas indigenous group and a number of farmers filed a complaint against Goldcorp for not following the required practices to regain a mining license, and that the mine would impact natural resources and pollute water at a local river.
Following the complaint raised by the indigenous group, the Copiapó appeals court halted project works in November 2013 and ordered the suspension of further development, pending the review of the injunction.
Earlier in April 2012, the Supreme Court of Chile had also suspended the approval of the environmental permit for the El Morro copper-gold project, stating that the permit was suspended until some deficiencies identified by the Antofogasta Court of Appeals were corrected by the Chilean environmental permitting authority, the Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental (SEA).
However, Goldcorp successfully resolved the issues and gained approval from the appeals court.
Following the decision by the appeals court, the indigenous communities told Spanish newspaper La Tercera that they would appeal the ruling at the country's Supreme Court.
Located in north-central Chile at an altitude of 4,000m, El Morro is expected to produce around 200 million pounds of copper and more than 210,000oz of gold a year.
Goldcorp stated that El Morro will be a major low-cost gold and copper producer with a significant exploration potential, with a long mine life and strong future cashflow.