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Barrick tips US$1B expansion for Pueblo Viejo

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) expects to complete a feasibility study next year on an estimated US$1 billion expansion for the already tier one Pueblo Viejo gold operation in the Dominican Republic.
Barrick tips US$1B expansion for Pueblo Viejo Barrick tips US$1B expansion for Pueblo Viejo Barrick tips US$1B expansion for Pueblo Viejo Barrick tips US$1B expansion for Pueblo Viejo Barrick tips US$1B expansion for Pueblo Viejo

Barrick is aiming for “the 2030s and beyond” at the Dominican Republic mine

Staff reporter

The mine is managed and 60%-owned by Barrick in a joint venture with Newmont Goldcorp.

Having already recommitted Barrick to its Latin American portfolio earlier this year, president and CEO Mark Bristow said the planned investment was further evidence of the partners' long-term commitment to the social and economic development of the Dominican Republic. 

"We look forward to continue making a significant and growing contribution to our communities and other stakeholders and to unlocking the enormous value of its mineral potential while addressing the historical third-party environmental issues," he said. 

Barrick describes a tier one gold asset as a mine with a stated life of plus-10 years with 2017 production of at least 500,000 ounces of gold and 2017 total cash cost per ounce within the bottom half of Wood Mackenzie's cost curve tools.

Pueblo Viejo produced 581,000oz at an all-in sustaining cost of $623/oz in 2018 and is forecast to produce 550,000-600,000oz this year at an AISC of $610-$650/oz.

The proposal includes an expansion of the mine's processing plant and tailings capacity and could extend the mine life "into the 2030s and beyond", Barrick said.

The initial capital investment was estimated at more than $1 billion on a 100% basis.

Bristow said the JV partners had already invested $5.2 billion in Pueblo Viejo, which represented about 20% of the total foreign direct investment in the Dominican Republic over the past 10 years.

The mine started production in 2012.

Barrick shares are down more than 13% year-to-date, having completed its merger with Bristow's Randgold Resources in January and striking a joint venture in March with Newmont over the pair's Nevada operations.