This series was made possible thanks to a Bourse Nord-Sud grant attributed by the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency.
At the beginning of November, Barrick Gold’s CEO, Jamie Sokalsky, announced yet another jump in the estimated capital costs of the Pascua-Lama mine, from less than $1 billion in 1997, to $3 billion in 2009, to $8 billion in July, to $8.5 billion last month – with “first gold” extracted from the Andean mine closer to the end of 2014 than to the beginning.
But, Sokalsky assured shareholders once again, Pascua-Lama is the company’s “top priority.”
There are, however, a number of obstacles remaining on the bumpy road to Pascua-Lama, to the delight of some and the dismay of others, from legal wrangling in Chile over the deeds to the vast, frigid territory, to a Supreme Court of Argentina decision over whether any mining can take place there at all, given the presence of glaciers so close to the mine pit.
Capital costs, which may yet rise again when the company releases its year-end results in February might be the least of Barrick’s worries.