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Referendum affecting INV Metals' Loma Larga gold project in Ecuador suspended

INV Metals Inc. said a March 24 referendum called by the Ecuadorian National Electoral Council, or CNE, to ban mining activities in the Girón Canton subdivision of Ecuador's Azuay province, has been suspended.

A court sided with a local group of the community of San Gerardo in its challenge, citing the referendum as a violation of their rights, according to the March 13 news release. The decision is subject to appeal by the CNE.

The referendum, should it proceed, may require the Canada-listed explorer to relocate the processing and tailings facility for its Loma Larga gold-copper-silver property.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court received March 7 an application for an opinion on the constitutionality of two concurrent referendums which were previously submitted for evaluation by the CNE.

The second application was submitted by the San Gerardo local group to hold a referendum in the Girón and San Fernando Cantons in support of the areas of influence of Loma Larga benefiting from mining royalties from responsible mining.