Barrick's initial focus is the Lithocap Zone immediately west of Pueblo Viejo. It is reviewing the large Precipitate database, including historical drill results and geochemical and geophysical data.
Under an April earn-in accord, Barrick must spend at least US$2 million on exploration within two years. It can earn up to 70% through expenditure of $10 million and delivery of a pre-feasibility study before the sixth anniversary of the agreement.
Barrick plans to complete at least 2,500m of drilling in the first six months.
Pueblo Viejo is one of the world's top gold mines, owned 60% by Barrick and 40% by Newmont. It produced 590,000oz in 2019 at all-in sustaining costs of $592/oz.
Production started in 2012 and it currently has proven and probable reserves of 5.7Moz within measured and indicated resources of 15Moz.
Precipitate shares (TSXV: PRG) gained 12% on Wednesday to C19c, capitalising it at $20 million. Barrick's New York-quoted equity (GOLD) was down slightly at US$24.33, giving it a market capitalisation of $43 billion.