On March 19, 2013 Astur Gold (AST-TSX.V) announced that Greenpeace Co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore joined the Board as an Independent Director.
Astur Gold is developing its 100% owned Salave Gold Project in Asturias, northern Spain, which is one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in Western Europe. In November 2012, the Company received government approval to build an underground mine. It is in the final stages of permitting.
Dr. Moore has been a leader in the field of environmental sustainability for the last 40 years. A co-founder of Greenpeace, he served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of Greenpeace International.
His creation of the term “Sensible Environmentalist” is representative of his call for a science-based, rather than ideological approach to environmentalism.
“Greenpeace has accused me of being an anti-environmentalist because I support mining,” explains Moore, “In fact I’ve never seen a situation where they supported a mine. And yet they ride bicycles, use cell phones and regularly get on aeroplanes. So they are just as dependent on metals as the rest of us.”
Moore cut his teeth writing a PHD thesis on the environmental impact of the Island Copper Mine. “They were going to dig a huge hole on the Northern End of Vancouver Island and pour all the tailings into Rupert Inlet. I discovered that the mining company was wrong about the nature of the water body they were going to dump their tailings into.”
“When I started in this business back in the 70s, there was very little regulation about reclamations of mine sites. Now you need a plan to leave a healthy ecosystem behind. Things have radically changed for the better.”
In recent years, Moore has done environmental consulting work in Indonesia, Ghana, Peru and Nevada for Newmont Mining (NEM-NYSE).
“I’m sometimes accused of shilling for industry but I only work for people and interests that I believe in,” says Moore.
Astur Gold is building a state-of-the-art mining facility that will reinvigorate the local economy. The project complies with stringent Spanish and EU environmental laws. Notably, no cyanide will be used in the processing of ore. AST is employing a clean flotation and selling a high grade gold concentrate.
“I am proud to be involved with Astur Gold,” states Moore, “CEO Cary Pinkowski is somebody I want to work with. He is thorough and thoughtful. Not a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy. I’m really looking forward to going to Tapia and getting involved with the community.”
Astur Gold has pledged to replant trees, treat run-off water, and re-contour slopes with topsoil and vegetation. A percentage of revenue from every ounce of gold will be set aside for the reclamation of the Salave lands and waters affected by mine activities.
“There’s a lot going for the Salave gold project,” says Moore, “It is already permitted as a mine. It is underground, which is a good thing. In a beautiful area like that, on the coast, an open pit mine would be a significant disturbance”.
Another Astur Gold strategy that Moore approves of is the paste backfill and Cemented Rock Fill (CRF) method of disposing of tailings which results in minimal water introduction and reduces surface tailings volume by about 55%.
“You cut a tunnel, mix the tailings with cement then pump it back into the tunnel before cutting another tunnel into the ore-bearing rock,” explains Moore, “So a large percentage of the tailings can be deposed of underground”.
“Patrick is one of the creators of the modern environmentalist movement,” states Cary Pinkowski, CEO and President of Astur Gold, “His presence will be a unique asset to Astur Gold as we continue the development of Salave and on additional projects we are currently evaluating”.
“My objective with Astur Gold is to make sure that environmental impacts are minimized,” confirms Moore, “And also to make sure that reclamation is successful when the mine is closed and that social programs are implemented that will leave the community richer than it was. It is as simple as that. And that is what I call sustainable mining.”
Astur Gold has granted Dr. Moore 200,000 options with an exercise price of $0.80 for a term of 5 years. AST is currently trading at C$0.64 with a market capitalisation of C$23 million. A 2011 Preliminary Economic Assessment projected a pre-tax NPV5% of US$391 Million.