Top Colombia Gold Miner Faces Production Halt Amid Protests

  • Existing sockpiles to run out by Friday, CEO Paredes says
  • Halt could endanger company’s 2016 production target

Gran Colombia Gold Corp. will have to halt production by Friday if protests at its operations don’t end by then, a further headache for the Colombian government as it struggles to enforce regulations governing the country’s gold industry.

Miners operating without permits inside Gran Colombia Gold’s concession have blocked roads since Monday, preventing company workers from reaching the main mining complex, according to Chief Executive Officer Lombardo Paredes. The company is still producing gold from stockpiles, although these will soon run out.

“On Friday we won’t have stock if this doesn’t end,” Paredes said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We will have to halt operations.”

Protests stem from a breakdown in talks as the Colombian government seeks to end illegal production. A stoppage later this week could prevent Gran Colombia Gold from reaching a 2016 output target of 145,000 to 150,000 ounces of gold, Paredes said.

Investors in the miner include billionaire Frank Giustra and founders of Pacific Exploration and Production Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company recently hired GMP Securities L.P. to carry out a strategic review that could include a sale of the company.

Gran Colombia Gold produced 116,857 ounces in 2015, while Mineros SA produced 107,064 in Colombia. Mineros also has operations in Nicaragua.

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