Chile’s environmental regulator has ruled that Barrick Gold Corp. must shut down its above-ground operations on the Chilean side of its massive Pascua-Lama gold and silver project.
But the latest admonishment by Chile is not expected to overly affect Barrick’s plans for Pascua-Lama, which sits at an elevation between 3,800 to 5,200 metres in the Andes, and straddles the border between Chile and Argentina.
For some time now, Barrick has been exploring the possibility of restarting the suspended project by building an underground mine on the Argentinian side, which may be less detrimental to the environment.
In a press release on Thursday, Barrick said the closure of affected operations in Chile was “consistent with the company’s plans to advance a prefeasibility study for an underground mining operation at Pascua-Lama.”
“We would expect Barrick to seek to modify the Pascua-Lama development plan to access the higher-grade ore on the Chilean side of the project from Argentina,” RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Stephen Walker wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.
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