13 April 2007Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he is dispatching the United Nations legal chief to Lebanon on Monday to help the Government and the country’s other political leaders to end their political impasse and set up a special tribunal as soon as possible to try the suspected killers of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. Nicholas Michel, the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, will “offer his legal assistance… to help their constitutional procedures,” Mr. Ban told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, referring to the parliamentary ratification necessary for the tribunal to enter into force. Mr. Ban said he hoped that Mr. Michel’s trip would help to “clarify all concerns or apprehensions” that might exist about the tribunal. In February, on behalf of the UN, Mr. Michel signed the agreement with Lebanon to set up the tribunal, but the country’s parliamentary forces have been deadlocked and there has been no vote so far on the tribunal agreement. The planned special tribunal in Lebanon will be of “an international character” to deal with the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed along with 22 others in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut in February 2005. Once it is formally established, it will be up to the tribunal to determine whether other political killings in Lebanon since October 2004 were connected to Mr. Hariri’s assassination and could therefore be dealt with by the tribunal. Mr. Michel told journalists today that his aim during the visit would be to “help the Lebanese parties to talk to each other and to find common ground so that the institutional process can be promoted towards ratification of the agreement.” He stressed that the UN had never tried to impose such a tribunal on the Lebanese, but had responded to an initial request from the country’s authorities for such a court. “So I work in that spirit, in the spirit of an assistance to be brought to the Lebanese authorities, in the spirit of a national dialogue, reconciliation, mutual understanding towards the establishment of the tribunal.” In April 2004 the Security Council set up the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the Hariri assassination was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. Its mandate runs out next year. Serge Brammertz, the current head of the IIIC, told the Council last September that evidence obtained so far suggests that a young, male suicide bomber, probably non-Lebanese, detonated up to 1,800 kilograms of explosives inside a van to assassinate Mr. Hariri.
Corriente has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Metso Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda. to supply the major components of the processing facility at the Mirador copper-gold project in Ecuador. The LOI quotes an equipment package totaling over $27 million, which includes a crusher, SAG mill and ball mill. Signing of this critical LOI allows Corriente to stay on its path to complete construction of the Mirador project in late 2008 with commissioning by the end of the year.Ken Shannon, CEO of Corriente: “The availability of key mill components is one of the major bottlenecks facing new mine developments around the world. We are pleased to be able to reach reasonable economic terms with Metso and at the same time to be assured the equipment will be delivered to meet the scheduled mine start-up at the end of 2008.”Corriente, a copper-gold development company, is moving towards construction of a starter operation at its Mirador copper-gold operation. Corriente has completed an Environmental Impact Assessment for initial operations at Mirador and in May 2006 completed a major equity financing for the project. Corriente says “Mirador is one of the few new, sizeable copper projects available for near-term production” and it controls a 100% interest in over 60,000 ha located within the Corriente Copper Belt, Ecuador. So far three copper and copper-gold porphyry deposits have been discovered on the Belt: Mirador, Panantza and San Carlos, as well as the Mirador Norte prospect currently under development. Additional exploration activities are ongoing, as six additional exploration targets have been identified to date.Mirador has a completed feasibility study on a starter operation with a measured and indicated resource model of 346,968,000 t at an average grade of 0.62% Cu, 0.2 g/t Au and 1.6 g/t Ag (at an average cut off of 0.37% Cu). The project is forecast to annually produce some 60,000 t of copper, 32,000 oz of gold and 398,000 oz of silver during the first five years of production. The mine model indicates a 38 year mine life at a throughput of 25,000 t/d. The capital cost for the project is estimated at $195 million.As an indication of the growth potential of the project, Corriente has prepared an internal cash flow projection for an overall mine plan that allows for an expansion to a capacity of 50,000 t/d with construction underway in year five. This expansion would require a twinning of the concentrator and use the same infrastructure layout and the same pit model and geological resources as in the starter project feasibility study. The capital cost of the expansion is estimated to be about $100 million. www.corriente.com