Chilean court accepts new appeal against Barrick's Pascua-Lama

Barrick Gold Corp's $8.5 billion Pascua Lama project is facing a new threat:  A Chilean court has agreed to examine another environmental appeal.

Chilean courts have already frozen the project due to earlier actions filed over environmental concerns. The courts had told the company to create a water management system which would satisfy Chile's Superintendence of the Environment (SMA).

Barrick halted construction and submitted a plan to the regulatory authorities. The gold miner expects to complete construction of the water management system by the end of 2014.

Just last month the Supreme Court upheld the company's permit, rejecting a request to shutdown the project altogether.

But as MINING.com noted at the time, the Supreme Court's verdict left the door open for future lawsuits.

Now, a fresh appeal has been filed with the Antofagasta Court of Appeals, Reuters reports. The claim argues that the controversial project is hurting the environment and the quality of life for the local population.

It's unclear when the court will issue a decision.

Pascua Lama is expected to produce over 800,000 ounces of gold and 35 million ounces of silver in its first five years. Production was scheduled to start in 2014 but has been delayed until 2016.

Creative Commons image by: M MG