Ecometals Limited Announces the Resolution of All Environmental Regulatory Liabilities at Serra do Navio, Brazil
July 31, 2013 at 08:00 AM EDT
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 31, 2013) - Ecometals Limited (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:EC)(BERLIN:GDQ)(FRANKFURT:GDQ) announced today the final resolution of all regulatory liabilities arising from environmental damage allegedly caused during the original mining operations conducted by Icomi at Serra do Navio, Brazil ("SdN").
IMAP, the State Environmental Agency, had refused the renewal of the Company's Environmental license pending settlement of the civil action brought by the State Environmental Prosecutor (the "Prosecutor") against the Company in 2009 regarding the legacy liabilities. The Prosecutor in turn required satisfying that the Company's contribution to environmental rehabilitation at SdN was sufficient as well as clarification of the Company's intentions to be a responsible corporate citizen.
On June 19, 2013 the Company signed an agreement with the Municipality of SdN under which the Company's subsidiary Ecometals Manganes do Amapa ("EMAL") would pay an amount to the Municipality of SdN equal to 5 % of EMAL's audited net income, on an annual basis, as restitution for the damage caused by the original mine owners.
This morning, at a Reconciliation Hearing in the Amapa State Civil Court before Judge Marcella Peixoto Smith, the Prosecutor endorsed the agreement between the Company and the Municipality of SdN. He also took note of the Company's intentions to support certain community projects in SdN and elsewhere. The Company has 120 days to liaise with relevant local Government authorities and NGO's to prepare and cost its plans to contribute to a limited number of local causes identified as deserving its support. The Company will also work with the Municipality of SdN to find ways to commercialize the acacia plantations which formed part of the original mine rehabilitation plan, to control the spread of the plantations and to replace them with other native species where possible. In the meantime, while setting penalties for the Company in the event of non-compliance with the terms agreed at the hearing, the Prosecutor will withdraw the civil action so allowing the renewal of the Company's license. The Judge will now give notice of the settlement of the action to IMAP and the Company anticipates the license to be issued soon thereafter, valid for three years and uncapped in terms of tonnages permitted to be shipped in that period (the original license was capped at 600,000 mt).
Commenting on the judgment, William Lamarque, CEO of the Company, said, "We are delighted to have put the legacy environmental issues behind us in a settlement that is manifestly fair to all parties. This represents a giant step forward in the commercialization of our manganese stockpiles at SdN and a key corporate uncertainty removed. The Mayor and Municipality of SdN have been highly energetic and effective supporters of our efforts to start work on the stockpiles and we look forward to reciprocating this with our financial settlement and by contributing where we can to local good causes."
Ecometals Limited is a Canadian-listed mineral exploration and development company focused on mineral resources in Latin America. Apart from its interests in manganese, Ecometals also has gold exploration activities in Ecuador.
This news release contains forward-looking information and forward-looking statements (collectively, "forward-looking information") under applicable securities laws, concerning the Company's business, operations, condition and prospects, as well as management's objectives, strategies, beliefs and intentions. Forward-looking information is frequently identified by such words as "may", "will", "plan", "expect", "estimate", "anticipate", "believe", "intend" and similar words referring to future events and results, including with respect to the issuance of the Company's environmental license at Serra do Navio. This forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Factors that may cause actual results to vary materially include, but are not limited to, the failure of IMAP to issue the Company's environmental license at Serra do Navio, changes in general economic conditions or conditions in the financial markets, and unanticipated operational or technical difficulties. Such forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions, including but not limited to, there being no significant decline in existing general business and economic conditions; political stability in the South American countries where the Company conducts business. Should one or more risks and uncertainties materialize or should any assumptions prove incorrect, then actual results could vary materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking information and accordingly, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this forward-looking information. The Company does not assume the obligation to revise or update this forward-looking information after the date of this news release or to revise such information to reflect the occurrence of future unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Chief Executive Officer