SAN JUAN DISTRICT, Argentina It's official: Veladero will get its environment licence this month. Toronto-based BARRICK GOLD will obtain approval for this gold-silver project before the end of October, Canadian Mining Journal has learned from an official at Argentina's San Juan provincial mining department, where the deposit is located.
"The technical report is ready and next week it will go to the committee for review so we expect the statement to be approved", said the official, whose department is one of those responsible for evaluating the document.
Vancouver-based mining equipment supplier FINNING INTERNATIONAL said in a statement released last month that it had secured a Cdn$70 million deal to supply Veladero.
Barrick, through its subsidiary Minera Argentina Gold, will develop and operate an open pit mine based on 8 million oz in proven and probable gold reserves. The Veladero deposit is located between 3,900 and 4,640 metres above seal level near the Chilean border and 300 km from San Juan city in northwest Argentina. It will need an additional investment estimated of US$455 million before it can produce 530,000 oz of gold annually over 13 years beginning in 2006. Direct costs are estimated at U$155/oz Au. Barrick has already invested US$25 million on access roads to the project.
Barrick's neighbouring Pascua Lama project, which straddles the border with Chile, is set to start producing 800,000 oz of gold annually in 2008 at capital costs of US$1.2 billion.
The two properties hold an estimated 39 million oz of gold. Proven and probable reserves at Veladero are 254,311 tonnes grading 0.037 opt Au. At Pascua-Lama they are 296,411 tonnes at 0.057 opt Au.
Barrick will hold its third quarter web cast on Oct. 27 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Log onto www.barrick.com.