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Chile’s regulator orders permanent closure of Barrick's Pascua-Lama mine

Mining News - Published on Mon, 22 Jan 2018

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Mining com reported that Chile’s environmental authority SMA has ordered the definitive closure of Barrick Gold’s already halted Pascua-Lama project, but lowered the fine for violations to 7 billion pesos (USD 11.5 million) from the previous USD 16 million it had charged the company. Mr Cristian Franz Head of SMA said in that statement that "Given the nature and the size of the breaches that the company committed, there is the conviction that total and definitive closure, plus an economic fine, is the most proportional sanction in this case."

The world’s No.1 gold producer was quick to clarify in a statement that the SMA did not revoke Pascua-Lama’s environmental permit. Instead, it ordered the closure of existing surface facilities on the Chilean side of the project, in addition to certain monitoring activities.

Barrick added that such order was consistent with its plan to advance a study for an underground mining operation at Pascua-Lama, which it says would reduce the overall environmental impact.

The SMA said its resolution was based on the analysis of 33 charges, five of which warranted total closure sanctions. Those breaches include Barrick’s operations impacts on protected flora and fauna, incomplete monitoring of glaciers and spilling acid solution into a river.

The gold and silver mine straddling the border with Argentina has been shuttered since 2013, when a court ordered the company to halt construction over environmental concerns. Later that year, Barrick shelved the project citing massive cost overruns and nose-diving metal prices.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Mon, 22 Jan 2018
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