CHILE – Toronto-based Barrick Gold has been dealt another blow to its controversial Pascua-Lama gold project that straddles the Chile-Argentina border high in the Andes Mountains. The supreme court of Chile has declined to consider an appeal of a lower court ruling regarding sanctions against the project.
Barrick was fined by Chile’s environment court for permit infractions at the site in 2013. The court ruled that the environmental regulator (known as the SMA) improperly determined the fines, and removed them, although it upheld a suspension of work at the project. Instead, the SMA will be forced to consider 23 separate charges.
Barrick sought to appeal the change as it argued the original fine was calculated based on applicable law and commonly accepted legal principals. The appeal was denied by the supreme court because it does not consider Barrick a party to the case because it was brought against the government regulator.
The SMA has said it will now re-evaluate the administrative fines to be imposed. Fines for 23 separate infractions will undoubtedly be much higher than the original $16 million fine.
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