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Honduras cancels mining permits, bans open pits
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Honduras cancels mining permits, bans open pits

TEGUCIGALPA – Feb 28 (Reuters). – Honduran metal and other mining permits will be canceled. The country’s government made a brief statement Monday, describing the industry in a negative light and stating that it will prohibit open-pit mines.

The Ministry of Energy, Natural Resources and Environment stated that natural areas of high ecological value will be preserved, but it did not go into detail.

According to the ministry’s statement, “The approval of permits to extractive exploitation was cancelled because they are harmful to the state in Honduras, threatening public health, and because they limit access water as a human rights.”

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The energy and mine ministry did not immediately respond when I asked for clarifications on whether the permit cancellations would only affect new projects or whether they would also apply to existing projects.

The announcement was made by the barely a month-old government led by leftist President Xiomara Cruz, who took office in January and promised to pull Central America “out of the abyss” created by failed economic policies as well as rampant corruption.

Castro’s election manifesto published last September promised to limit mining before her victory at mid-November. The manifesto outlined 282 mining concessions that were granted by previous governments during 2017, citing the country’s geography and mining institute.

Canada’s Aura Minerals operates an open-pit mine located in western Honduras. It has faced stiff opposition from locals due to alleged disturbances at a Maya-Chorti Indigenous Cemetery.

Last year, the company was forced to suspend operations because of what it called illegal blockades.

According to Aura Minerals’ website, the San Andres mine produced nearly 61,000 ounces gold in 2020. It processed more than 4.4million tonnes of ore.

According to central bank data, Honduran’s mining export revenue from its silver, zinc, lead projects totalled almost $130 million last fiscal year. This does not include gold shipments revenue.

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Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing and editing by Kylie Madry

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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