Government of France Passes New Legislation Establishing Mining Zones in French Guiana
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, January 26th, 2012. Columbus Gold Corporation (CGT: TSX-V) (“Columbus Gold”) is pleased to announce that the National Government of France has approved critical new legislation respecting the development of the mining industry in the region of French Guiana where Columbus Gold is advancing its 100% owned Paul Isnard gold project, which includes the 43-101 compliant 1.9 million ounce Montagne d’Or inferred gold deposit.
Robert Giustra, CEO of Columbus Gold, commented: “French Guiana is the most under-explored area of the Guiana Shield, with some 35,000 km2 of prospective greenstone terrain. The approval of this important legislation is a clear message from the French Government that French Guiana is now open for business and committed to developing its vast mineral wealth potential, particularly gold mining. The legislation removes legal uncertainties and provides complete clarity to the mining industry on exactly where in the region responsible mineral exploration and development is possible.”Robert Giustra further stated: “It’s an essential and very positive development for Columbus Gold in particular as it greatly increases the level of confidence with respect to the potential for future open pit mining operations at our Montagne d’Or gold deposit.”
The legislation, known as the “Schéma Départemental d’Orientation Minière (“SDOM”)” was created with the dual objectives of encouraging economic development of the mining industry in French Guiana while protecting its environment. To accomplish these goals, the SDOM provides increased security of land tenure, clarifies mineral development guidelines and environmental conditions and restrictions, and assigns lands in French Guiana to 1 of 3 zones (the “SDOM Zones”) that clearly define where mining activity is either: 1-authorized, 2-banned, or 3-authorized only from underground. As shown at the following link on the map of the SDOM Zones, the area hosting the Montagne d’Or gold deposit is classified as a zone in which mining activity is authorized:
For clarity, although the Montagne d’Or deposit is located in a zone authorized for mining, as in all established modern mining jurisdictions worldwide, prior to the commencement of commercial mining activities, a comprehensive development application would be required to be submitted to the applicable authorities, which would including among other things environmental assessments and other items that are typical of development requests. Columbus Gold is presently in the resource expansion phase so is currently not considering plans to mine at Montagne d’Or.
The environmental review that was carried out by the government with the aim of creating the comprehensive SDOM legislation took over three years and was triggered by its 2008 rejection of IAMGOLD’s development application for its Camp Caiman gold deposit on environmental grounds. The final SDOM legislation was drafted by representatives of the national government of France in the Prefecture of French Guiana, in consultation with among others, the public, local authorities and councils, and industry. It was approved in December 2011 by the Conseil d’Etat (State Council), the highest administrative court in France, and went into effect on January 1st, 2012. On January 21st, 2012, French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited French Guiana to inaugurate the new legislation. He declared in a speech that the SDOM provides the framework and stability to attract large industry players that will enable French Guiana to develop its gold mining industry in accordance with a specific and legal territorial plan that would also assist in combating and discouraging illegal gold mining activities.
Drilling is currently underway at the Montagne d’Or gold deposit which hosts a 43-101 compliant inferred gold resource of 1.9 million ounces within 36.7 million tonnes grading 1.6 gpt gold. The deposit is a steeply-dipping tabular body averaging about 70 meters thickness and partially outlined by earlier drill holes for a strike length of 2,000 meters and depth of 100-150 meters. The deposit and inferred resource are open at depth, along strike and internally between widely spaced holes. The current program, consisting of 15,000 meters in about 50 holes, is designed to increase the gold resource by drilling the deposit systematically to a depth of 200 meters and laterally along open strike extensions. The denser drill pattern, with holes at roughly 50 meter centres, is also expected to convert certain of the inferred resource to indicated and measured categories.
Future drill programs will target potential extensions of the Montagne d’Or deposit indicated by untested geochemical anomalies extending more than 2.5 km along strike, incompletely tested parallel zones of gold mineralization, and other untested or incompletely tested gold prospects and geochemical anomalies throughout the large Paul Isnard property.
Columbus Gold’s independent consultant and Qualified Person, John Prochnau (P. Geo), B.Sc. (Mining Engineering), M.Sc. (Geology), has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release.
About Columbus Gold
Columbus Gold is a gold exploration and development company operating in French Guiana and Nevada. In French Guiana, Columbus Gold recently acquired an option to earn a 100% interest in the Paul Isnard gold project, which has a 43-101 compliant 1.9 million ounce inferred gold resource and substantial expansion potential. In Nevada, Columbus is a prolific project generator focused on advancing projects either through joint-venture with industry partners or on its own where exploration risk is minimized and potential is particularly promising. Columbus Gold’s president, Andy Wallace has a long and successful history of gold discovery and mine development. The company currently has 11 of its 25 strategically located gold projects in Nevada joint-ventured to major and junior mining companies.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD,
Robert F. Giustra
Chairman & CEO
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This release contains forward-looking information and statements, as defined by law including without limitation Canadian securities laws and the “safe harbor” provisions of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“forward-looking statements”), respecting drilling, and Columbus Gold’s general exploration and development plans. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including without limitation the drill rig’s compliance with French Guiana law; the ability to acquire necessary permits and other authorizations; environmental compliance; cost increases; availability of qualified workers and drill equipment; competition for mining properties; risks associated with exploration projects, mineral reserve and resource estimates (including the risk of assumption and methodology errors); risks associating with results not warranting further work or development of the project; dependence on third parties for services; non-performance by contractual counterparties; title risks; and general business and economic conditions. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions that may prove to be incorrect, including without limitation assumptions about: that qualified workers will be available; that the design of the drill plan is appropriate for the site; general business and economic conditions; the timing and receipt of required approvals; availability of financing; power prices; ability to procure equipment and supplies including without limitation drill rigs; and ongoing relations with employees, partners and joint venturers. The foregoing list is not exhaustive and Columbus Gold undertakes no obligation to update any of the foregoing except as required by law.