Canada’s Red Eagle Mining to open Colombia’s first gold mine in 20 years
Canada’s Red Eagle Mining will invest a total of $120 million to open an underground gold mine in northwestern Colombia, the first gold-mine project to be launched in the Andean nation in the last 20 years, a company executive told EFE Friday.
A total of $40 million was invested in the exploration phase, from 2010 to 2015, Red Eagle Mining’s Colombia manager, Rafael Silva, said, adding that an additional $80 million will be spent to build the mine.
Construction of the San Ramon mine, located in Santa Rosa de Osos, a municipality in Antioquia province, began on July 29 after the company obtained its environmental license from Corantioquia, the local environmental protection agency.
The company says it will be the first gold mine to operate in Colombia under modern environmental permitting legislation.
“We expect the mine will be finished before next year and begin producing some 1,000 tons of minerals per day and some 50,000 ounces of gold annually” starting in 2016, Silva said.
Red Eagle estimates that 120 direct jobs will be created during the construction phase and some 150 during the production phase.
San Ramon, whose reserves have been calculated to a depth of 200 meters (655 feet), is currently expected to yield 400,000 ounces of gold during the mine’s projected eight-year life span.
However, “we expect the reserves will increase over time and with geological knowledge once the tunnel is open,” Silva said.
San Ramon is currently the company’s only project in Colombia, but it is not ruling out the possibility of exploring other areas of the country with mineral potential.
“We think we’re going to be a model mine from an environmental, social and technical point of view, and that the country will change its current conception of mining and stop confusing illegal mining with modern and efficient mining,” Silva said.
Illegal mines, which operate in 233 Colombian municipalities, caused the deforestation of 16,784 hectares (65 sq. miles) of old-growth, or primary, forest and contaminated at least 19 rivers in 2014, according to the Environment and Sustainable Development Ministry.
Two weeks ago, the government unveiled a plan to combat this scourge.