Barrick’s height of hard luck: huge lake appears at one of its biggest Aussie mines

Lady luck doesn’t seem to be on Canadian Barrick Gold’s (TSX, NYSE:ABX) side these days. To the financial troubles caused by low commodity prices, increasing mine costs, as well as legal and labour issues at its $8.5bn Pascua Lama project, the company has added fresh headaches related to the re-emergence of a lake at the doorsteps of its Lake Cowal gold mine in Australia.

According to The Wall Street Journal, before buying the land, Barrick spent over 10 years exploring the area, which was so dry that farmers used it to graze sheep and other livestock. But since the lake reappeared in 2011, Barrick has had to deal with unusual challenges, including venomous snakes, shellfish traps and submerged fence posts to keep up operations.

Earlier this month Barrick applied to extend the life of its Lake Cowal gold mine from 2019 to 2024. Although the extension will not create any new jobs, said the company, it will ensure a job for nearly 370 people currently working there.

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Image by Denis Vrublevski