South Africa-based AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. sees no progress in its Colombian gold project La Colosa for at least two years as the legal dispute between the company and environmental authorities lingers, said AngloGold’s top official in Colombia.
Rafael Herz, the Chief Executive of AngloGold’s local unit, said the company will take “at least a minimum of two years” to get results of its exploration activities and the studies of environmental impact of the project and submit it to local authorities and communities.
The local authorities of Tolima province in Central Colombia halted AngloGold’s exploration effort in La Colosa in early 2008, citing environmental concerns. AngloGold, the world’s third largest gold miner, appealed the decision and was granted a partial and temporary permit to resume working in the area last year.
The company is exploring the area of the gold deposit it identified in 2007 with “water brought from somewhere else at a very high cost and we will only be able to keep that way for the very short-term,” Herz said.
AngloGold has said the exploratory phase in what could become Colombia’s largest gold mine will require $200 million in investment. The gold deposit might contain as much as 12.8 million ounces of gold, according to the company’s early estimates.
The construction of a mine to extract that amount of gold from La Colosa would require more than $2.5 billion.