Portugal may have a ‘first-class’ gold mining site, similar to finds in Canada, Australia and Ghana if studies carried out by Colt Resources Inc. prove right, the company’s chief executive officer said.
The Canadian mining company signed a three-year investment contract with the Portuguese government yesterday to explore for the metal in the Boa Fe shear zone, a 30-kilometer (19-mile) stretch of land near Evora in the country’s south.
The area could rank with the Ashanti Gold Belt in Ghana, the “golden mile” district in Australia and the Timmins gold camp in Canada, CEO Nikolas Perrault said in an interview. “We believe the Boa Fe shear zone has a lot of potential and can prove to be a first-class find.”
Boa Fe may contain as much as 8 million ounces of gold, Jorge Valente, the president of Colt’s Portuguese unit Eurocolt Resources, said in a separate interview. Previous attempts that failed to find significant gold in the area focused on only a small area, while Colt has found signs of a vast deposit elsewhere in the extension, he said.
Portugal is betting on companies like Colt to revive the country’s gold mining sector and bolster the economy, which the government expects to remain in recession until 2012 as it implements austerity measures to comply with a 78-billion-euro ($108 billion) bailout program from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
“These investments are vital for our economy,” Economy Minister Alvaro Santos Pereira said at a press conference in Lisbon yesterday after signing 10 mining contracts with companies, including Colt, interested in searching for gold, silver and other resources.
Colt agreed to invest 3 million euros in the next three years in the Boa Fe project. That investment could increase to more than 50 million euros in the next five years if the company strikes “significant” gold deposits, Perrault said.
The property has been explored intermittently over the past two decades, which has enabled Colt to have access to an extensive historical database, according to a statement in the company’s website on Oct. 24.