Chilean court formally suspends Barrick's $8.5bn Pascua-Lama

A Chilean court has formally suspended operations at the Pascua Lama project, reaffirming a temporary freeze that was put in place in April of this year.

The court ruled that Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) must build infrastructure to prevent contamination of water supply for indigenous communities along a stretch of the Chile-Argentina border in the Andes.

Barrick anticipated the court's decision, announcing in June that the project would likely be delayed a year beyond the previous forecast of Q3 or Q4 2014.

Barrick's Co-Chairman John Thornton said last month that he is working quickly to address the concerns of the Chilean authorities, but the company also stated that it "will continue to evaluate all alternatives, in light of the uncertainties associated with the legal and regulatory actions, and the current commodity price environment.”

The production target for Pascua-Lama was 800,000 to 850,000 ounces of gold annually over the course of its first five years, "equivalent to to about 11 percent of the company’s forecast output this year."