Florida’s Aura Minerals Inc. (TSX: ORA) (OTCQX: ORAAF) has undertaken an unusual new initiative by establishing a vineyard and winery at a Honduras gold mine to benefit neighbouring communities.
The company announced the Seeds of Hope venture at its Minosa mining operation on Thursday. Aura says the venture will provide economic diversification and employment opportunities to local residents.
“Just like mining, developing a vineyard requires patience, investment, and research,” CEO Rodrigo Barbosa said. “This venture is not just an agricultural venture; it’s a step towards transforming the Copán region into a renowned wine-producing area, bringing prosperity to its people.”
Eight different varieties of grapes will be cultivated on a 1-hectare section of the mine. The vineyard and winery has employed thirty people thus far. Aura anticipates that it will require 250 once fully established.
The gold miner will invest US$1 million in it over five years and expects it to have at least a 50-year lifespan. The Foundation San Andres, the company’s social arm, will complete the work.
Aura works toward World Gold Council certification
The Miami-based gold, silver and copper producer is currently focused on becoming one of a select group of companies adhering to the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles.
Ethical conduct, working with communities and protecting biodiversity are some of these environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.
Certain other TSX-listed gold mining companies operating in Central America like Calibre Mining (TSX: CXB) (OTCQX: CXBMF) adhere to those principles as well. One of Calibre’s ESG initiatives has been providing technical assistance to beekeepers in Nicaragua.
Amazing story from Rancho Grande, Nicaragua! 🌟 Beekeepers there have received technical assistance from @CalibreMining and are fiercely committed to protecting the forest. $CXB #CalibreMining #growingtogether #sustainability pic.twitter.com/mMcLq9Vh1F
— Calibre Mining Corp. (@CalibreMiningCo) February 5, 2024
Aura was recently ranked as the 44th best-performing stock out of 247 others on the S&P/TSX SmallCap Index.
The company currently has four operating mines in Honduras, Mexico and Brazil. The Minosa mine hosting the new vineyard is an open-pit heap leach operation expected to last for another seven years or more.
A survey completed last year determined that local community, water usage and tailings management were the ESG issues most likely to affect the relationship between investors and governments in the mining sector. It was completed by the consulting firm Charles River Associates.
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