Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX), which recently regained its status as the world’s most valuable producer of the precious metal, has began a “drastic revision” of its mothballed Pascua-Lama project in South America.
According to Chilean news outlet El Pulso (in Spanish), the company’s President Kelvin Dushnisky revealed that management is re-evaluating plans for the gold, silver and copper mine straddling the border of Chile and Argentina, adding that Barrick does not rule out a possible partnership to bring the project to completion.
The giant project in the Andes has been shuttered since 2013, when a Chilean court ordered the company to halt construction over environmental concerns. Later that year, Barrick shelved the project citing massive cost overruns and nose-diving bullion prices.
“We are looking at how to lower the costs, perhaps by digging a smaller pit, or aiming at higher grades (…) we are very open to consider different options, but we’d only restart the project when the market is right,” Dushnisky said.
Analysts are now speculating that Barrick’s partner in Papua New Guinea, China-owned Zijin Mining Group, could be the one to help turn Pascua-Lama into a success by spreading the financial and political risk.
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