The Aznalcóllar Project is a past producing property within the Iberian Pyrite Belt that hosted the Aznalcóllar and Los Frailes open pit zinc-lead-silver mines. The focus of the project is the re-development of the Los Frailes deposit which was originally developed in the mid-1990s. The historical open pit mineral resource as calculated by the previous operator of the mine was estimated to be 71 million tonnes grading 3.86% zinc, 2.18% lead, 0.34% copper and 60 ppm silver. Reports by the operation’s mine department and a review of the diamond drilling data for the mine indicate the existence of a higher-grade portion of the resource that was estimated by the previous mine operator to contain 20 million tonnes grading 6.66% zinc, 3.87% lead, 0.20% copper and 84 ppm silver.
The company has been engaged in a lengthy litigation process since 2015 related to the public tender for the Aznalcóllar Project. A number of indictments relating to irregularities in the Aznalcóllar tender process have been issued by the Spanish courts.
According to Spanish legal counsel, laws relating to public tenders in Spain stipulate that if there is commission of a crime in the awarding of a public tender, the bid shall be disqualified, and the tender awarded to the next qualified bidder. In the case of the Aznalcóllar Project, Emerita is the only other qualified bidder. The Third Section of the Provincial Court of Seville has set March 3, 2025 as the date for the criminal trial on the alleged crimes committed during the process of awarding the Aznalcóllar tender. The trial is an oral hearing that is expected to be completed on July 15, 2025. The Court has also reserved up to 40 sessions including days in March, April, May, June and July 2025. The 16 defendants face sentences totaling up to 348 years in prison for the alleged rigging of the Aznalcóllar mining tender, including accusations of influence peddling, fraud, embezzlement and bribery. Emerita remains committed to working with the community of Aznalcóllar to develop the Project in an environmentally responsible manner to benefit all stakeholders.
With a successful acquisition, Emerita would commence work immediately upon receiving appropriate permits to carry out drilling on the property and complete an NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate required for the completion of a feasibility study in support of development of a mining operation at the site.