Barrick Updates Lama Project Strategy, Reports Optimization Improvements

Barrick, looking at a “modest” approach to Lama project development, also reports productivity
improvement successes at Pueblo Viejo and Goldstrike, shown here. (Photo: Barrick Gold)
Barrick Gold’s recent appointment of a senior vice president for development of its troubled Lama project in Argentina has drawn attention as an indication of the company’s future plans for the gold-silver project.

Barrick announced in early September that it had selected George Bee as Senior VP for Lama and Frontera District Development, with immediate focus to be on advancing a starter project option at Lama, on the Argentinean side of the cross-border, Argentina/Chile Pascua-Lama project. Construction at the project has been suspended since the fourth quarter of 2013. When initially approved in 2009, project production capacity was planned at 750,000 to 800,000 oz/y of gold and 35 million oz/y of silver.

“Recent evaluation by the project team indicates that a modest, scalable starter project at Lama using underground mining methods may represent the best option to begin a phased development plan for Pascua-Lama,” the Barrick announcement said. “If successful, cash flow from Lama could be used to fund additional development on both sides of the border over time.”

Bee will advance initial conceptual work completed by the project team, working with Barrick’s Argentina Executive Director, Juan Ordoñez, as well as the Pascua-Lama team in Chile, which will continue to focus on optimizing the Chilean components of the Pascua-Lama project, while working to address outstanding legal, regulatory, and permitting matters.

Bee was a member of the team that developed Barrick’s Goldstrike operations in Nevada in phases between 1988 and 1995. “Just as the Goldstrike mine was completed in stages over time, we see significant benefits to approaching Pascua-Lama in the same way,” Barrick President Kelvin Dushnisky said. “We are confident that George Bee has the leadership capabilities, technical expertise, and regional experience to develop a compelling starter project option for Lama.”

As work on the Lama starter option advances, Bee will also begin developing an integrated development plan for the Frontera District, a 140-km stretch of prospective land on the El Indio belt controlled by Barrick.

Barrick Gold has reported details of successful projects to optimize production at the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic and the Goldstrike mine in northern Nevada. Pueblo Viejo is a joint venture owned 60% by Barrick and 40% by Goldcorp. Goldstrike is wholly owned by Barrick. Descriptions of the optimization projects and their results are included in Barrick’s report of its second-quarter 2016 financial and operating results.

As featured in Womp 2016 Vol 09 -