Water supplies uncontaminated: UN on Argentina cyanide spill

Water supplies are not showing signs of contamination following a cyanide leak at Barrick's (NYSE, TSX:ABX) Veladero mine in western Argentina, in mid-September.

Samples taken from surface water five days after the spill "showed no deviation from measurements taken in June 2015," Reuters quotes a report by UN investigators.

Barrick acknowledged the incident in a statement, saying the leak was caused by a faulty valve on a pipe carrying solution with cyanide between Veladero’s leach pad and the processing plant. The company was forced by court order to temporarily halt pumping the cyanide solution; the five-day suspension was lifted last week.

The provincial government of San Juan also recommended residents living in three towns near Veladero to avoid or reduce water consumed from the Blanco River as a precautionary measure until further tests are conducted.

A legal complaint has been filed against nine Barrick employees in connection with the leak, though none have been charged, Reuters said.

Veladero, one of the largest gold mines in Argentina, produced 722,000 ounces of gold in 2014. It is expected to account for around 10 percent of Barrick's 2015 output.