Exclusive: Barrick faces sanctions for Argentina cyanide spills, judge says – by Julianaa Castilla (Reuters U.S. – May 8, 2017)


SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA – Barrick Gold Corp failed to complete improvements to the Veladero mine in Argentina that could have prevented the third spill of cyanide solution in 18 months, leading to eventual sanctions for the world’s biggest gold miner, a judge told Reuters.

Barrick appears to have missed deadlines on three orders from local authorities, including replacing pipes, before the March 28 spill, said Pablo Oritja, the judge overseeing cases related to Veladero in the nearby town of Jachal, where “Barrick out” graffiti lines the streets.

“If they had changed pipes as ordered, the decoupling (of pipes) would not have occurred,” Oritja told Reuters on Friday, the day after meeting the head of the mining police in western Argentina’s San Juan province, where Veladero and Jachal are located.

The findings “will eventually end in sanctions against the company,” said Oritja, judge at the Judicial Court of Jachal. The investigation into past negligence, along with the provincial government’s review of Barrick’s mine improvement plan, could delay the Canadian company’s goal of restoring one of its top five mines worldwide to normal production in June.

Barrick (ABX.TO) (ABX.N) has followed established regulatory procedures to comply with the requirements issued by San Juan authorities following the recent spills at Veladero, spokesman Andy Lloyd told Reuters in response to Oritja’s comments.

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