Chile's court says Barrick’s Pascua-Lama has not damaged glaciers

Chile's court says Barrick’s Pascua-Lama has not damaged glaciers

Work at Pascua-Lama. Image from archives.

Chile's Environmental Court has handed a major victory to Barrick’s besieged Pascua-Lama gold, silver and copper mine straddling the border with Argentina by ruling the project has not damaged glaciers within the project's area of influence.

"Preserving and protecting glaciers from harm is essential to the work we do every day at Pascua-Lama," said Eduardo Flores, Barrick's Executive Director for Chile in a statement Monday.

"We are pleased that the court has confirmed what the technical and scientific evidence demonstrates, that these ice bodies have not been damaged by activities at the Pascua-Lama project," Flores added.

The Toronto-based miner reiterated it is committed to working with stakeholders and local communities in Chile to advance the debated project “in an environmentally responsible manner, respecting its legal and regulatory requirements.”

Construction at the mine site was indefinitely postponed because of the ongoing legal issues and the company's own decision to halt work in October 2013. At that point Barrick had already invested $5 billion in a project also hit by cost overruns and a falling gold price.

Pascua-Lama, which would produce about 800,000 to 850,000 ounces of gold a year in the first full five years of its 25 year life, was scheduled to start production in the second half of 2014.