Pascua-Lama Schedule Unaffected by Stoppage

Barrick reported on November 11 that it voluntarily halted pre-stripping activities on October 27 in the open-pit area of its cross-border Chile/Argentina Pascua-Lama gold-silver project after observing in-creased dust in the area. The dust had been exacerbated by stronger than normal winds, and Barrick halted pre-stripping to allow implementation of additional dust mitigation and control measures.

Regulatory authorities in Chile subse-quently issued an order to halt pre-strip-ping until dust-related health and safety concerns were addressed. This order only affected activities related to pre-stripping in Chile. Major construction activities on the Chilean side of the project, including work on the ore tunnel, the crusher and the camp were continuing uninterrupted.

Construction activities in Argentina were not impacted.

Barrick stated that pre-stripping is not a critical path item in the Pascua-Lama construction schedule, and the company does not anticipate that the temporary halt will impact the overall project schedule or cost estimates.

In its report of third-quarter results, Barrick reported it hired Fluor to assume overall project management at Pascua-Lama. In July, Barrick announced prelim-inary results of a review indicating an increase in capital costs at Pascua-Lama to $7.5–$8 billion and a delay in first production to mid-2014. Since then, Barrick has been working with Fluor on a more comprehensive “top-to-bottom” review, which will be complete for inclu-sion in the company’s 2012 year-end results release. Work to date suggests that capital costs will be closer to $8–$8.5 billion, with first production in the second half of 2014.

As of November 1, approximately $3.7 billion had been spent for Pascua-Lama development.

As featured in Womp 2012 Vol 12 -