Location of the proposed Pascua-Lama mine that straddles the Argentina-Chile border. (Image: Barrick Gold)
CHILE – Toronto-based Barrick Gold is taking a US$429-million pre-tax impairment at its Pascua-Lama gold project in Q4 2017. The project straddles the Chile-Argentine border in the Andes Mountains.
Chile’s superintendent of the environment (SMA) recently ordered Barrick to close all the project infrastructure that lies within its jurisdiction as part of a re-evaluation process ordered by the courts in 2014. Barrick is appealing the order.
The company is studying the viability of building an underground mine instead of the planned open pit. Surface facilities not necessary for an underground operation in Chile would be permanently closed. An underground plan would require additional permits from both Argentina and Chile, irrespective of the recent SMA decision.
Meanwhile, Barrick is reclassifying Pascua-Lama’s proven and probable reserves that include about 14 million oz of gold. They will now be considered measured and indicated resources with the result that the company will take a pre-tax impairment of US$429 million in Q4 2018.
Additional updates on Pascua-Lama will be delivered at Barrick’s investor day, Feb. 22, 2018, and posted on the website www.Barrick.com.