SAN JUAN, Argentina BARRICK GOLD of Toronto has begun construction of its US$455-million Veladero gold project in northern Argentina's San Juan province, said company spokesperson Vince Borg. Work began immediately following approval by the country's mining authorities of Veladero environmental impact study, he said. It is expected to come onstream late-2005.
Earlier in the year, the company invested about US$25 million in access roads to the project and placed orders to the tune of US$50 million with Caterpillar and other equipment suppliers for the open pit fleet.
Located at between 3,900 m and 4,640 m above sea level near the border with Chile and 300 km from provincial capital San Juan, Veladero is forecast to produce 530,000 oz of gold annually for 13 years from 2006, with direct costs of US$155 per ounce.
Barrick's other project in the area is Pascua Lama, which straddles the Chilean border. This is currently projected to produce 800,000 oz of gold a year from 2008 at capital costs of US$1.2 billion.