* Ombudsman recommends not granting environmental permit
* Greystar says to have second public hearing on case
BOGOTA Dec 21 A Colombian state ombudsman on
Tuesday recommended the government consider rejecting a license
for Canadian miner Greystar Resources GSL.TO to develop a
gold project because of environmental concerns.
The national Inspector General's recommendation is not
binding, but the ruling could bolster those who argue the
Angostura gold mine project would impact the delicate paramo
ecosystems in northeastern Santander province.
"The Inspector General's office has requested the
ministry... study the possibility of not authorizing the
environmental license for the mining project Angostura," said
the ombudsman in a statement.
Colombia, once written off as a failing state mired in drug
violence, is enjoying a resurgence in oil and mining investment
as its long guerrilla war wanes and companies return to explore
in areas dismissed in the past as too dangerous.
Angostura has 10.2 million troy ounces of measured and
indicated gold reserves and 3.4 million of inferred resources
with 74 million ounces of silver reserves and resources,
according to preliminary studies.
Colombia is studying whether to grant a license for the
project but the government has already accepted that the
company does not have to resubmit its environmental impact
study to conform to new mining regulations.
Greystar said on Tuesday that the government had requested
a second public hearing on the proposal to allow groups opposed
to the project to present their case.
Local Colombian authorities are also discussing whether to
grant a water permit to AngloGold Ashanti (ANGJ.J) for its La
Colosa gold project. In 2008 regional authorities ordered the
project suspended on environmental grounds, but a partial
permit was later granted by the central government.
(Reporting by Patrick Markey in Bogota; editing by Gunna