Goldcorp gets environmental go-ahead for Chile mine

SANTIAGO Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:35am BST

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Goldcorp has secured the environmental permit it needs to progress with its copper and gold El Morro project in the north of Chile, the Canadian miner said on Tuesday.

Construction on the $3.9 billion project was halted last year, after the Supreme Court froze its environmental permit at the request of the local indigenous community, until the company had fully consulted the community.

While a copper boom has buoyed Chile's economic growth, many Chileans feel the profits have not benefited them and that massive mining operations have polluted the environment, leading to increased protests and challenges to projects from local and indigenous groups.

"Goldcorp will now carefully consider the most appropriate next steps it will take to develop the El Morro project, with the aim of satisfying the long term needs of all interested parties," said the company in a statement.

El Morro, 70 percent owned by Goldcorp and 30 percent by New Gold, had been due to begin operations in 2017. It has reserves of 6.1 million pounds of copper and 8.4 million ounces of gold.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien and Felipe Iturrieta; Editing by Richard Chang)

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