#Barrick Gold Corp.#Edmundo Flores#Pascua Lama#Mining

Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama Mine Project Expected to Move Forward

Check out the latest edition of Mining Global!Barrick Gold Corp., the worlds largest listed miner of precious metal, has been attempting to get the Pasc...

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|Nov 14|magazine9 min read

Check out the latest edition of Mining Global!

Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest listed miner of precious metal, has been attempting to get the Pascua Lama Mine— an open pit mine project of gold, silver, copper and other minerals, which straddles the Chilean-Argentinean border— up and running for some time but has had obstacle after obstacle to overcome. 

In September, 2013, the company announced its intention to move forward with the South American mine but the Copiano Court of Appeals issued a ruling that Barrick Gold discontinue the $8.5-billion project until the company installs infrastructure to prevent water pollution at the site so that it meets environmental standards.

“Barrick is committed to operating at the highest environmental standards at all of its operations around the world, including at Pascua Lama,” the company responded to the court ruling.  Shortly after, Barrick submitted a plan to Chilean regulatory authorities to build the infrastructure, expecting it to be completed by the end of 2014. 

However, in October, 2013, after investing $5 billion into the project, the company announced a temporary suspension on the project due to economical, legal and permitting matters.

The project had also been strongly opposed by the local communities surrounding the mine, who believe Barrick Gold misrepresented how much risk the miner really faced when it began construction. 

In an attempt to make peace with the locals, in July, 2014, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a group of indigenous communities in Chile’s Huasco province to build trust with the members and make additional information regarding the mining project available to them. 

On Wednesday, November 12, 2014, Barrick Gold announced it is confident that the project will get built, though there is no room for error. 

Edmundo Flores, Barrick Gold project executive, explains that the company still needs to get permits and complete the 2013 court mandated water system prior to resuming construction, and that this may take years.

"The company has made significant changes. I think there's definitely a way to move forward. It’s small, but it exists,” states Flores.

He continues, “We have to be careful, we can’t make mistakes… there is no room for error this time."

Pascua Lama is one of the largest gold and silver resources with more than 15 million ounces of gold reserves and 675 million ounces of silver reserves.  If the stalled project moves forward, the mine is expected to produce around 850,000 ounces of gold and 35 million ounces of silver in the first five years.

 

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