Mr. Paul Begin reports
CONTINENTAL GOLD COMMENTS ON COLOMBIA'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RECENTLY ISSUED PRESS RELEASE
The Constitutional Court of Colombia has issued a press release in reaction to previous reports in the media, announcing that certain aspects of the National Development Plan (Law 1753) passed by congress in July, 2015, are considered unconstitutional and that it intends to issue definitive rulings in this regard in due time. Previous experience with this type of ruling indicates that this may take up to three months.
Media coverage and initial analysis indicate that the main thrust of the ruling will be to eliminate the exceptions in the law which allowed certain mining operations in areas considered to be "Paramo" (high lying wetland ecosystems located in the Neotropics which are considered to be "water factories"). Continental Gold Inc.
has no projects within its portfolio that are affected by the Paramo.
A second important objective of the ruling will be to eliminate the possibility of expedited land expropriations for Projects of National Strategic Importance without previous public consultation with local communities, which mainly impacts the national government's current ambitious infrastructure construction plan. This ruling will not impact the company as it has already acquired all necessary surface rights for the Buritica project.
Importantly for the company's Buritica project, the program governing PINES was declared constitutional in the court's press release, meaning that the national government will continue to oversee, promote and supervise PINES projects. The court also indicated that ANLA (the National Environmental Agency) will not have sole exclusivity over permitting and maintaining environmental aspects of PINES projects. The national government's position so far has been to say that it will await the definitive ruling and once its details are known, it will express its position, and stating that it will abide by the courts legal decisions.
Continental's Buritica project was declared a PINES project by the national government in 2013, among other reasons because it will duplicate Colombias legal production of gold using mechanized mining that adheres to the highest international mining, safety, environmental and social standards, while generating important levels of quality job creation and fiscal contribution in an underprivileged area of Antioquia. The company maintains an excellent relationship with the national government as well as the newly elected (Jan. 1, 2016) government in Antioquia (which is of the same party as the national government which replaced the previous Green Party administration).
Continental filed its updated environmental permit amendment application with ANLA on Jan. 20, 2016, and simultaneously sent a complete copy of the EIA to Corantioquia (the Antioquia autonomous regional environmental authority). The company has been informed by the national government that the permitting process is continuing on schedule, and will update shareholders if there is potential for an adverse impact on timing once the definitive rulings are made public by the Constitutional Court of Colombia. The company remains fully confident in its ability to permit the Buritica project successfully in a timely manner.
We seek Safe Harbor.
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