Toronto, Sept. 21, 2018 /CNW/ – Continental Gold Inc. (TSX:CNL; OTCQX:CGOOF) ("Continental" or the "Company") would like to expand on the press release issued on September 20, 2018 on the tragedy that took place in the village of Ochalí in the municipality of Yarumal and provide clarification to misinformation circulating in local media reports.
The Company confirms that three of its employees were fatally wounded in the vicious attack that took place late at night on September 19, 2018 and the status of one other remains unknown at this time. First and foremost, the Company has been in permanent contact with, and is providing support to, the families of the deceased, those that were involved and survived the incident and our other employees and contractors. We iterate our deep sorrow and solidarity with the families of our deceased employees—Laura, Henry and Camilo—and will continue to provide a strong shoulder of support to those affected.
Contrary to media speculation, the Municipality of Yarumal has enjoyed calm and peace for a number of years without any security outbreaks of record. According to interviews published today in local Colombia media, the Mayor of Yarumal, Julia Areiza, stated: "We have not had the presence of armed groups in the region for a long time…they were gone as the dialogues and negotiations of the [peace] process have been respected. The 36th Front [of FARC] operated for a long time [in the area] and, for more than five or six years, they have not been active there [in the area]." Additionally, the Mayor commented that he has visited Ochalí nine or ten times over the past two years without any security incidents.
Additionally, the Company would like to state that its number one priority is the safety and security of its employees and contractors. Prior to, and during the Company’s exploration activities in Colombia, a joint evaluation of the security conditions is performed among the Company, local authorities, public forces and the community. In this particular instance, the conditions were deemed secure for exploration activities to be carried out. Once security approval was established, the Company operated in Yarumal within a strict protection matrix; security contractors were in place at all times with our employees and an agreement was in place with the National Army of Colombia to provide permanent direct support.
This integrated security system complied with all international standards and protocols and was further reinforced through a robust social and sustainability program with the community in which exploration takes place. According to an interview published by a Medellin newspaper, one of the villagers stated: "What happened really hurts. They [Continental Personnel] always greeted us, they were very distinguished. Even on Sunday, they did an activity with the townspeople. They were providing work, they made purchases in the small shops [of Ochalí]. With what has transpired, the community loses."
Continental Gold would like to reiterate that its operations at its flagship Buriticá project remain unhindered and continues to operate under normal parameters; the Berlin project is located over eight hours away by road. The Company would also like to commend the tremendous efforts being coordinated over the past two weeks by the National Government, the Department of Antioquia and municipal communities in providing a markedly improved security structure by the Military and Police at the Buriticá project.
About Continental Gold Inc.
Continental Gold is the leading large-scale gold mining company in Colombia and is presently developing it’s 100% owned Buriticá project in Antioquia. Buriticá is one of the largest and highest-grade gold projects in the world and is being advanced utilizing best practices for mine construction, environmental care and community inclusion. Led by an international management team with a successful record of discovering, financing and developing large high-grade gold deposits in Latin America, the Buriticá project is on schedule with first gold pour anticipated during the first half of 2020.