MAC: Mines and Communities

Copper Exploration Halted In Mendoza District - Argentina

Published by MAC on 2006-11-24
Source: Business News Americas


Copper exploration halted in Mendoza district - Argentina

By Harvey Beltrán
Business News Americas

24th November 2006

The departments of sanitation and environmental control and of mining and hydrocarbons in Argentina's Mendoza province have suspended copper exploration in the Punta del Agua mining district.

Specifically, the authorities' decision states that "the company Minera Chapleau Argentina must immediately halt exploration works at the MDZ F1 prospect in San Rafael department," for not presenting the hydrologic study required by the corresponding environmental impact study, the provincial government said in a statement.

However, the claim that the company did not provide proper documentation is "completely untrue," according to Eric Wiltzen, president of Canadian parent company Chapleau Resources (TSX-V: CHI).

"We had all necessary permits in place before we did any work," Wiltzen told BNamericas. "We complied with all laws and regulations, and we are providing that information that they asked us for to prove that."

The suspension of exploration activities will stand until the company's documentation is analyzed under provincial decree no. 820, which introduces the new parameters for the evaluation of environmental impact in mining and includes participation from the community and the pertinent technical organizations, the statement said.

Nonetheless, the company has completed exploration on the portion of its La Pampa gold-copper project that lies within Mendoza province and is not planning further work there.

"It's political," Wiltzen said when asked if requirements had changed since Chapleau applied for permission to explore.

"We are aware that it's not exactly politically stable and we chose to do our program there, but the way things are going now, unless there is some stability brought into the picture we wouldn't be doing any further work there [in Mendoza province]," said the executive.

Chapleau will continue work on the part of the project that lies within neighboring La Pampa province, he added, though it intends to focus on exploration at its properties in Brazil.

The Mendoza property "is in good standing for the time being but we certainly are not going to do any more work on it," Wiltzen said.

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