May 24 (Reuters) - EMED Mining Public Ltd said Andalucia, one of Spain's autonomous regions, gave a key approval for the company's plans to restart its flagship copper mine, formerly owned by Rio Tinto , sending its shares up by a fifth.
The approval from the culture and heritage department of Andalucia -- the first from any government body there -- follows a March announcement by the regional government, recognizing the company's legal claim to the project's mineral rights.
The approval will help EMED Mining's plan to start production in 2012.
The company, which explores for gold and copper from Europe to the Middle East, is now seeking permission from Andalucia's departments of environment and industry.
Tuesday's approval drove EMED shares up 18 Canadian cents, before losing a penny to trade at 17 Canadian cents, on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They had lost 40 percent in the last three months, hit mainly by uncertainties about the project. (Reporting by Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)