Barrick Gold Faces Challenges to Develop Latin America Mines – by Danielle Bochove and Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – February 15, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Just seven weeks into the job, Barrick Gold Corp.’s new boss has already discovered, first hand, the challenges of developing and mining giant deposits in Latin America.

Barrick’s main project, the Veladero joint venture with Shandong Gold in Argentina, isn’t performing like a tier one asset, Mark Bristow said on Wednesday.

In 2019, Veladero is expected to have the highest cost per ounce in Barrick’s portfolio. He also cited projects in the El Indio belt straddling the Argentina-Chile border, and Alturas in Chile, as high-cost efforts.

“Every one of those projects, if you bring them to account, they are very high capital,” Bristow said of the Latin America ventures during an interview from the sidelines of Barrick’s fourth-quarter analyst meeting in Toronto.

Bristow’s comments follow a recent trip to the region, and come a month after Barrick completed its acquisition of Randgold Resources Ltd. Bristow and executive chairman John Thornton have promised the world’s top gold producer will focus on high-quality assets with the aim of generating cash to boost shareholder value, although Bristow said earlier his approach will be a little different.

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