UPDATE 1-Kinross says can restart Ecuador project

* To restart exploration at Fruta del Norte

* Project put on hold last year when Ecuador froze mining

TORONTO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Kinross Gold K.TO said on Tuesday it has received authorization from the government of Ecuador to restart development of its Fruta del Norte gold project, which it put on hold last year when the country froze mining activity.

Ecuador said in March it planned to lift its ban on high-priority projects such as the 13.7-million-ounce Fruta deposit, and Kinross has been waiting for final approval to recommence exploration at the site.

The Toronto-based company said it will restart its drilling program shortly, with the aim of completing a prefeasiblity study in January 2010.

Kinross acquired the project last year when it bought Aurelian Resources for about C$870 million.

Other Canadian miners active in Ecuador include Corriente Resources CTQ.TO, which said on Monday it had been given the green light to restart development of its Mirador copper-gold deposit, and Iamgold IMG.TO, which has been waiting for permission to restart activity at its Quimsacocha project.

$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway