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Barrick exploring for Pascua-Lama potential

Barrick Gold says it’s “intensively exploring for more resources for the Pascua-Lama project” which straddles the border between Argentina and Chile.
Barrick exploring for Pascua-Lama potential Barrick exploring for Pascua-Lama potential Barrick exploring for Pascua-Lama potential Barrick exploring for Pascua-Lama potential Barrick exploring for Pascua-Lama potential

Barrick Gold is also looking for “the next Veladero” in Argentina

Staff reporter

The company had agreed to close Pascua in Chile in September 2020, in accordance with an environmental court ruling. 

President and CEO Mark Bristow said yesterday a decision would be made in 2024 on whether Lama, in Argentina, met the company's investment criteria for development.

At a presentation in Argentina, Barrick said its near-term focus was Lama and Pascua and the concept of "a potential Lama-Veladero complex".

It said it was investing about US$75 million and using 10-12 drill rigs.

Veladero is a 50:50 joint venture with China's Shandong Gold and expected to produce 260,000-300,000 ounces this year on a 100% basis.

Barrick, prior to its Randgold merger, and Shandong had signed a collaboration accord in 2018 which included evaluating Lama's development potential and possible Lama-Veladero synergies.

New community fund

Bristow and San Juan governor Sergio Uñac yesterday signed an agreement to establish a community development fund for Veladero, the company said.

Barrick said the fund would be financed by 1.5% of the Veladero gold mine's sales, which were estimated at US$138 million during the current life of the mine which extends beyond 2030.

Bristow said the company was working to extend Veladero's life and had recently completed with the mine's Phase 6 heap leach facility, with construction of the $140 million Phase 7 to start soon.

The mine was also set to link to the national grid this month, ending Barrick's use of a diesel power plant and set to save 23 million litres of fuel annually and about 100,000 tonnes per year of emissions reductions, to contribute to Barrick's 2050 net zero target.

The company said it was also on the hunt for "the next Veladero" in Argentina and said its exploration teams were evaluating a range of targets along the El Indio Belt, around the Veladero joint venture and in Quevar in the Salta province.