The Administrative Court of Guyana canceled, Monday, February 11, the authorization for a gold mining project related to the Montagne d'Or mine. But this decision will have no impact on the main project.
This is a new rebound in the fight between supporters and opponents of the Montagne d'Or project, the largest French open-pit gold mine project under study in Guyana.
The administrative court of Guyana canceled on Monday, February 11, a prefectural decree authorizing the company Montagne d'Or to open alluvial gold mining operations in French Guiana on the sidelines of its major industrial gold mining project.
The decision will have "no impact" on the mine project
This cancellation does not put into question the flagship project of Montagne d'Or, which provides for the operation of a 2.5 km long mine, starting in 2022, south of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni.
It concerns a smaller project (on a surface of one square kilometer) of mining works for the exploitation of alluvial gold (gold deposited by the movement of the water), located on the same concession, that the prefect of Guyana authorized on December 13, 2017.
The associations Guyane Environnement and Maiouri Nature Guyane had requested the cancellation of this decree. In a statement, Compagnie Montagne d'Or says that "This decision has no impact on the industrial mine project" that she develops.
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The court questions the impact study of the project
According to the judgment, consulted by AFP, the court agrees with the environmental associations on two points. It considers that alluvial gold mining operations authorized by the prefect and the large industrial project Montagne d'Or, envisaged "In the immediate vicinity" of the first, are "One and the same" project "", because they "Constitute interventions in the same natural environment".
Therefore, the impact study for the alluvial gold mining project had to take into account also the other industrial project. "The partial nature of the impact study did not allow the environmental authority and then the prefect of Guyana to have a precise and coherent view of the issues and effects of the project as a whole," affirms the judgment.
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An attempt to "minimize" the impacts of the project, according to the associations
Other ground for annulment: the court considered that the environmental authority in charge of giving an opinion on this work, in this case the Deputy Director of the Department of Environment, Planning and Housing (Deal) which depends on the prefect, did not benefit "The adequate functional separation so that it can benefit from real autonomy", compared to the prefect of Guyana, signatory of the decree.
In a statement, the collective "Or de question", which brings together several associations for the environment, welcomes this decision. "The Montagne d'Or company has tried to minimize the impact of its activity", he denounces, lamenting a "Illegal practice of "salami" Project », who "(Violates) the European obligation to foresee all the impacts of activities on the site".
This decision should not have any consequences, since the operator indicated at the end of 2018 to have suspended the exploitation in July, for lack of profitability, according to a precision of the prefect in the administrative court.
The Cross (with AFP)