SAN JUAN PROVINCE, Argentina The feasibility study for BARRICK GOLD’s Veladero gold project has been submitted to the authorities in the northwest Argentine province of San Juan. Barrick is seeking permission for a US$455-million development.
"We are currently analyzing the study they [Barrick] presented, and once we come to a decision on it and the province’s mining board decides on the environmental impact study, we will sign the exploitation contract to start work on the project," said Alberto Passeron, director of the province’s IPEEM mining and exploration institute.
The Veladero deposit is located at an altitude of 4,200 m in the Andes Mountains near the Chilean border. Annual production is anticipated to be 530,000 oz for 13 years, beginning in 2006. Estimated direct costs are US$115/oz.
Barrick has already allocated US$25 to build a 300-km road linking the Valle del Cura, where the project is, with the provincial capital, San Juan. Construction, due to take until the end of 2004, will employ 2,000 workers directly. Once in full production in 2005, the mine will employ 800 people.
Barrick also plans to develop the larger Pascua-Lama gold-silver project, located a few kilometres from Veladero and straddling the Chilean border. The company is updating the feasibility study for Pascua-Lama, which it said previously was expected to produce 800,000 oz of gold per year beginning in 2008. Capital costs were estimated at US$1.18 billion.
Together, Pascua-Lama and Veladero contain a resource of 26 million oz of gold, and the current study will look at how to obtain synergies between the two projects, among other matters.
See also Barrick’s web site at www.barrick.com.