Colombia turns down expansion of BHP nickel minePublished by MAC on 2013-07-02
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Colombia turns down expansion of BHP nickel mine
1 July 2013
BOGOTA - Colombia's environmental licensing authority has turned down a request from BHP Billiton's Cerro Matoso nickel mine to expand the site, one of the world's largest producers of ferro nickel, it said in a statement on its website.
The request was denied because existing environmental permits cannot be modified to enable mining projects to be expanded, the authority, known as ANLA, said.
No one at ANLA was reachable on Saturday to provide further details or to clarify whether other options exist to expand the decades-old project, which last year produced more than 47,000 tonnes of nickel, according to the National Mining Agency.
Located near the town of Montelibano in northern Colombia, the Cerro Matoso mine has a lateritic nickel ore deposit and a low-cost ferro nickel smelter. The smelter and refinery are integrated with an open-cut mine. About two thirds of the world's nickel output is used to make stainless steel.
At the end of 2012, Cerro Matoso updated certain parts of its mining contract and increased royalties paid to the government.