Angel Valdes | June 12, 2023
The company Minera Cerro Quema announced that through a statement that it obtained the approval of the Category III Environmental Impact Study (EsIA) for its mining project. This constitutes an important milestone and formalizes the Company’s compliance with the fundamental pillars of good governance, environmental and social sustainability in support of responsible mining operations. The approval of the EsIA is also essential to proceed with the next phase of pre-construction permits for the gold and silver mine.
After a rigorous technical review period started in 2015 and with interdisciplinary inspections
Field tests carried out in 2021 and 2023 by the Ministry of the Environment confirmed that the original environmental conditions of the project baseline remain similar to date.
The approval of this important environmental management instrument confirms to the communities,
specifically surrounding the project and the province of Los Santos that the technical design of the operation
The mining company of the Cerro Quema Project complies with the requirements established by the General Environmental Law
and the Mineral Resources Code.
In accordance with national regulations, MCQSA has submitted in a timely manner to the Ministry
of Commerce and Industries (MICI) the reports, studies and justifications necessary to obtain the
extension of the term of the three mining concessions associated with the Cerro Quema Project. Are
concessions cover a total area of 14,893 hectares, of which 481 hectares (3.29%) represent the area that will be directly intervened by the mining operation (in other words, the footprint of the project). No additional intervention is planned outside of the mentioned footprint.
As recognized by the EsIA, the three mining concession areas associated with the Cerro Quema Project
are outside the zones belonging to the National System of Protected Areas and
conservation areas where the development of mining activities is expressly prohibited, such
as established by national legislation.
The Cerro Quema Project includes the construction of a plant with a maximum capacity
processing of ten thousand tons per day, which positions it as a mining operation of
medium scale. The size of the project, together with the application of modern technology and the
preparation of the Mine Closure Plan that will include a progressive closure process, as well as the
financial resources necessary for the final closure of the gold and silver mine, ensure that the
area intervened by the mining operation will be restored in accordance with national regulations
and international industry best practices.
To date, MCQSA has achieved a positive balance in terms of environmental impact, having reforested more than 206 hectares of forest as compensation for the approximately five hectares intervened, which represents 41 times more regenerated areas than intervened areas. MCQSA is committed to maintaining this objective and generating, during the useful life of the mine, a positive net result through the recovery and reforestation of areas even larger than those intervened.
MCQSA has estimated an investment of B/. 163 million balboas in capital cost for the phase of
construction of the Cerro Quema Project. Additionally, the company estimates to invest B/. 50 million
balboas in exploration and engineering activities. These amounts include the construction of
infrastructure such as reservoirs, dams and irrigation systems, which will also generate benefits
farmers in neighboring communities through improvements in the efficiency of water use. Are
improvements will contribute to rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment, irrigation implementation
technology and collaborative management in the protection of watersheds, as determined by the EsIA.
The company plans to invest B/. 400 thousand balboas earmarked for community projects for this year.
During the construction phase, MCQSA estimates that it will generate 3,600 direct and indirect jobs and maintain
1,200 jobs during the operation. Annually the project estimates operational expenses for B/. 35
million balboas, destined mainly for salaries, purchases of inputs and services, payments of
taxes and royalties and investments in infrastructure, human capital development programs and
agricultural/ecotourism venture in neighboring communities, among others.
MCQSA is a subsidiary of Orla Mining Ltd. (Orla), a Canadian company engaged in mining
modern and responsible Orla operates one of the mines with the lowest carbon emissions per ounce of gold
produced in the mining industry.
MCQSA and Orla work together with the Panamanian Government on the next steps required to
comply with the corresponding technical, legal and administrative evaluations.