January 29, 2019 / 8:05 PM / a year ago

AngloGold soil study in Colombia halted pending review after mining ban

BOGOTA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Miner AngloGold Ashanti said on Tuesday it has halted a soil study at a site in Colombia after the town’s mayor issued a suspension order because of a recent mining ban.

Work at the site in Jerico, Antioquia province, was stopped on Monday and the project will remain halted pending a review by the province’s tribunal, AngloGold said.

The company was not carrying out mining exploration at the site, but previous exploration by AngloGold subsidiary Minera de Cobre Quebradona indicate the larger area has some 5 million tonnes of copper reserves, the company said.

AngloGold said in a statement that it was conducting the study to “determine the viability of a possible future installation of infrastructure.”

The mayor’s office in Jerico, where the local legisture recently voted to ban mining, could not immediately be reached for comment. The mayor was quoted by local radio RCN saying that AngloGold had not complied with the exploration ban.

A wave of environmentally focused anti-mining referendums that bar mining and oil extraction had worried investors in Colombia until the constitutional court ruled last year that local votes cannot halt energy projects.

AngloGold was forced to suspend a potentially $2 billion project in the town of Cajamarca in 2017 because of a vote there. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Helen Murphy and Leslie Adler)

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