UPDATE 1-Anglogold sees water permit this year in Colombia

Wed May 19, 2010 1:54pm EDT

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By Teresa Cespedes and Eduardo Garcia

LIMA, May 19 (Reuters) - AngloGold Ashanti (ANGJ.J) expects to receive a water permit this year for exploration work on its La Colosa gold project in Colombia, the company's site manager said at an industry conference on Wednesday.

La Colosa Project Site Manager Aurelio Ganoza said the wait for the permit has caused some delays for the South African company, which expects to invest some $250 million in the project between 2010 and 2012.

"We're expecting the water permits this year, providing there is luck and (the government) is willing," Ganoza told reporters on the sidelines of a biannual summit of gold miners in Lima.

La Colosa was a greenfields discovery made in 2006 and is located 93 miles (150 km) west of Colombia's capital city, Bogota.

If AngloGold obtains the water permit, exploratory works at La Colosa to conclude feasibility studies could conclude in late 2012. Mine construction could go ahead between 2014 and 2016, the company has said.

Ganoza said that AngloGold sees La Colosa starting production in about seven years and that the company is "very optimistic" that negotiations with governmental authorities regarding the use of water resources will come to a good end.

In February 2008, local authorities ordered the project suspended on environmental grounds. A partial permit was granted later by the central government.

The project would provide 4,000 jobs in Cajamarca town during the 20-year life of the operation, if its 12.3 million ounces in unproven resources are confirmed and the project goes forward, the company has said.

Colombia will double its gold production over the next five years to 3 million ounces, up from the 1.57 million troy ounces produced last year, according to Asomineros, the country's mining association.

AngloGold is one of several international miners which have been attracted to Colombia's rich resources as its security situation improved.

Gold mining companies are expected to invest $400 million in Colombia this year, according to the country's mining association. (Writing by Terry Wade)

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