The renewed commitment of Barrick Gold Corporation to Latin America, designed to optimize its existing operations and create a platform for a next generation of mines, has made significant progress since its launch at the beginning of this year, president and chief executive Mark Bristow said here.
Speaking at a meeting with local community leaders and media, Bristow said the company’s assets in the region were a major part of its global portfolio and there was enormous potential for new discoveries capable of amplifying Barrick’s ability to create real value for all its stakeholders.
“Barrick holds a highly prospective land package, with mining rights covering some 34,000 hectares, in the El Indio gold belt. This legendary gold province, which spans Argentina, Chile and Peru, has already yielded five significant discoveries and we believe its mineral wealth still offers a very substantial upside,” he said.
“We have a new regional exploration strategy that is being implemented by a best-in-class team drawn from the merged Barrick and Randgold. In Argentina alone, we plan to invest more than $30 million in exploration over the next two years.”
Turning to the operations, Bristow said the current expansion of Pueblo Viejo is expected to maintain the mine’s Tier One1 status for years to come. At Veladero, work to reclaim its full potential and extend its life was already showing results, with the mine increasing production by 26,000 ounces in the second quarter of this year. He noted that over the past 14 years Veladero had contributed some $8.9 billion to the Argentine economy through taxes, royalties, salaries and payments to local suppliers. In addition, the mine has established a new trust fund that could deliver more than $70 million in community infrastructure between 2020 and 2028, depending on production. At Pascua Lama, the focus is on going back to basics in order to review the original project’s parameters and defining its future potential.
In Chile, the Norte Abierto and Alturas projects are progressing, while in Peru the Lagunas Norte mine is being placed on care and maintenance while the team assesses the sulphide resource potential, and at Pierina closure planning is continuing.
Bristow said Barrick acknowledged that there were legacy challenges in each of these countries. It was engaging with their governments and communities to resolve these and to build productive new partnerships with its hosts to ensure that the new value that is created benefits all stakeholders.
“We are an organization that has grown out of pioneering exploration, discoveries and development. Given our established presence here, our local geological knowledge and exploration skills, we are committed to becoming a leader in the region,” he said.