Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gold Firm Loses Lease

Albuquerque Journal North
Mark Oswald
Sept. 4, 2011

"A company with plans to mine for gold in the Ortiz Mountains southeast of Madrid says in a lawsuit that it has a better chance of getting the necessary approvals now that New Mexico has a governor with “a pro-business stance.” Also, the Albuquerque-based Santa Fe Gold Corp. says in a federal court complaint, Santa Fe County’s “politically liberal” population may be more willing to support mining operations these days, because of the jobs it could bring during the recession’s economic hard times.

But Santa Fe Gold Corp. has lost the lease to explore for and mine gold and other minerals on about 43,000 acres of the Ortiz Mine Grant.

On Tuesday, the mining company filed suit accusing mineral rights owner Ortiz Mines Inc., of Kansas of breach of contract.

The lawsuit also reveals that Santa Fe Gold – despite losing the lease – has already obtained a state “general mining permit” for preliminary work at the Ortiz Mountain site, issued Aug. 19.

The state Mining and Minerals Division provided a copy of the permit this week. It grants conditional approval for a year for a “mining disturbance” not to exceed two acres consisting of “collecting rock samples by hand and baseline environmental data collection.”

Santa Fe Gold obtained a seven-year mineral lease with Ortiz Mines in 2004 and made the deal public in 2008. Santa Fe Gold says in its lawsuit that it has made $753,224 in lease payments so far.

But Ortiz Mining served notice in June that it was terminating the lease, citing concerns about Santa Fe Gold’s effort to move the project forward."...

..."The suit goes on to note the current poor economy and record-high gold prices and says the “public fervor over Tecton’s plans to drill for oil and gas has largely abated.”

“While the population of Santa Fe County is politically liberal, current economic conditions make it more likely that public support can be generated for support of the Ortiz Project,” the suit states.

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