On 15 December 2017 at a meeting of the Montagne d'Or joint-venture (Columbus Gold Corp 44.99%/Nordgold 55.01%), the joint-venture board unanimously decided to proceed with construction of the Montagne d'Or gold mine in French Guiana, South America. Commencement of construction is subject to a number of additional requirements, including a public consultation and the receipt of required permits and authorisations. The submittal of the mine permit applications is presently scheduled for 3Q18 and could take more than 12 months to process.
Stakeholder engagement is currently underway at Montagne d'Or following the completion of a feasible study in March 2017. The project's Environmental and Social Impact Study will be delivered in 1Q18, following the completion of a supplementary in-fill geotechnical drilling programme currently underway.
The preliminary steps of the permitting process take into account a public consultation under the mandate of the French National Public Debate Commission. The Commission is involved in the planning of all major structural projects on French Territory that are deemed to be socio-economically important. The Commission's mandate is to ensure that the public is able to participate in the planning of these projects with the objective to socialise and endorse decision-making. Its role is to:
- Inform the public about the project submitted for public debate.
- Allow the public to express itself.
- Brief the project management team.
On 4 October 2017, the Commission appointed a five-member Special Commission that will manage the public consultations for Montagne d'Or, three of them are representatives selected from French Guiana. The public consultation process will extend over a four-month period commencing in approximately March 2018 followed by the delivery of the Commission's assessment report, which will give Columbus and Nordgold the opportunity to make appropriate project adjustments prior to the submittal of mining, environmental and construction permit applications to the French administration.