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Court orders French government to renew Orea’s Montagne d’Or mining concessions

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Global Mining Review,

Orea Mining Corp. has announced the decision from a French court ordering the renewal of the Montagne d’Or mining concessions within 6 months. Montagne d’Or, located in French Guiana, France, is a permitting-stage opencast gold mining project that hosts proven mineral reserves of 8.25 million t at 1.99 g/t (530 000 oz) and probable mineral reserves of 45.87 million t at 1.50 g/t (2.2 million oz).

The Montagne d’Or joint-venture (owned 44.99% by Orea and 55.01% by Nord Gold SE) (JV) submitted renewal applications for a 25-year period for two core mining concessions in December 2016. In the absence of a timely decision from the Minister of Economy in charge of mines, and in order to protect its rights, the JV filed proceedings in February and March 2019 in the Administrative Court of Cayenne in French Guiana to invalidate any implicit (deemed) refusal as a result of the French government having failed to respond within the legal deadline and to order the state to extend mining concessions for a period of 25 years and, in the alternative, to reconsider its request for an extension.

The court rendered its decisions on 24 December 2020 and concluded that the implicit refusals were cancelled and ordered the state to extend the mining concessions and to set the duration of these extensions within a period of 6 months from the notification of the court judgment. The Minister of Economy and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) permitted to intervene in case will have 2 months to appeal the decision.

Rock Lefrancois, President and CEO of Orea, commented: “The court decision is a big win for the JV, confirming its rights to the Montagne d’Or concessions. The court also noted the completeness of the applications and the JV’s financial and technical capabilities to develop the project. Now that the mine redesign is essentially complete, culminating in years of outstanding work by the JV to make this project technically and environmentally exemplary, we now see a clear path for the development of one of the best grade opencast gold deposits in the Guiana Shield.”

As communicated on 22 December 2020, the JV launched additional engineering and environmental studies in early 2019 for project modifications and improvements subsequent to the bankable feasibility study completed in 2017 and public consultation conducted in 2018 by the National Public Debate Commission (CNDP). The project redesign mainly addressed recommendations made in the CNDP’s report and took into consideration the French government’s expectations on environmental protection. The complementary studies are now substantially complete and the current schedule is to finalise the environmental and mining authorisation applications in 1Q21.

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