Barrick disputes withdrawal of financing

In a story MINING.com reported last week, Barrick disputes some of the reasons that the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Exim) and Export Development Canada (EDC) no longer appear as backers for the Pascua Lama project.

On Monday the Argentinean Centre for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA), distributed a press release claiming that U.S. Export-Import Bank (Exim) and Export Development Canada (EDC), two of the world’s largest publicly funded credit agencies, would not be financing Barrick’s Pascua Lama gold mining project. CEDHA said it presumed that it was to due to “clear violations to the Equator Principles.”

Barrick’s Communications director, Andy Lloyd, wrote to MINING.com saying that “. . . there was no such decision by EDC or EXIM. Barrick alone decided to withdraw its application for financing for internal business reasons. We are pursuing another option for the financing.”

According to CEDHA, both financial institutions de-listed Pascua Lama from Category A projects under consideration. Exim Bank lists the Pascua Lama project as “withdrawn” and, according to CEDHA’s founder Jorge Daniel Taillant, “EDC simply deleted the project from its web site.”

Talliant said the financial institutions made a decision that is clearly related to an Equator Principles Due Diligence Review of Pascua Lama that CEDHA filed to Exim and to EDC, laying out in 45 pages of detail, “violations to the Equator Principles of the Pascua Lama Project “ and why “should either bank move forward with financing.”

However, when asked about it, the Canadian gold miner (TSX:ABX) said that it was its sole decision to pursue alternative financing arrangements for the project and that it does not reflect any decision by EDC or EXIM.

“Barrick maintains a strong financial position with the gold industry’s only ‘A’ rated balance sheet, providing the company with a range of options to meet its financing needs. Upon reviewing current market conditions and alternative financing opportunities, the company has decided not to pursue financing for the Pascua-Lama project from Export Development Canada (EDC) and the United States Export-Import Bank (EXIM),” Barrick said in an e-mail to MINING.com

The company’s statement not only was confirmed by EDC, but the institution also said that Pascua Lama never appeared on EDC’s disclosure site.

EXIM didn’t reply to MINING.com attempts to get an official statement.

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