Ecuador allows Canadian firm to mine gold in Amazon

Quito, Dec 15 : The Ecuadorian government has signed a contract with a Canadian firm to exploit a gold and silver deposit in its southeastern Amazon province, reports said.

Canada’s Lundin Gold company would invest $1 billion to exploit the precious metals deposit in Zamora Chinchipe of Ecuador, Efe news reported on Thursday.

The project is expected to produce the first result in 2020, besides providing millions of job to the communities in the nearby area.

Mining Minister Javier Cordova signed the deal on Wednesday to extract the precious metals as part of the Fruta del Norte project in the Yantzatza region.

With an investment of $1 billion, the Canadian firm plans to dig and then operate an underground mine, along with a processing centre to extract the precious metals.

The reserves at the site was calculated to be some 9.8 million ounces of gold and 15 million ounces of silver, Cordova said.

The project, he said, was considered to be “one of the most important undeveloped gold deposits in Latin America and the world,” and it would be carried out strictly respecting the nearby communities and the environment.

“The signing of this contract is a landmark in industrial mining in Ecuador,” said Cordova, while Lukas Lundin, the president of the Lundin Gold board of directors, said that the project was being followed internationally.

He said that, after preparing the mine, the facilities and processing plant, estimates were that the first minerals would be produced in early 2020.

The Canadian businessman expressed his company’s commitment to making Fruta del Norte a “great success,” especially for the communities in the area near the mine, which would benefit from construction of roads, educational and health facilities.

Attending the contract signing ceremony, which was held at the Ecuadorian vice presidential offices in Quito was Vice President Jorge Glas.

Glas said that the project would pay some $1.28 billion in taxes and would generate some $5.3 billion in mineral exports, along with providing 2,000 direct jobs during the construction phase, 900 jobs during the production phase and some 7,000 indirect jobs.

/IANS

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