Barrick admits violations in Pascua Lama, vows to make ‘things right’

Canadian Barrick Gold’s (TSX, NYSE: ABX) admitted yesterday before a Chilean judge it had committed violations in regards to its touted $8.5 billion Pascua Lama gold and silver project, straddling the border of Chile and Argentina.

The company’s lawyer, Jose Antonio Urrutia, said that the decision of appeals court to halt all operations in the Chilean side the proposed mine was “rightful” and that the gold miner now wants to “make things right.”

According to local newspaper Emol (in Spanish), Barrick asked the court to actually ratify its verdict and said it would work on the necessary adjustments to comply with all regulations.

“The company has submitted a compliance plan for approval by Chilean regulatory authorities to complete the water-management system by the end of 2014, subject to regulatory approval of specific permit applications,” the firm said earlier this month.

“Following completion of the water management system to the satisfaction of the SMA (Chile’s environmental watchdog), we expect to be in a position to resume construction in Chile, including pre-stripping. Under this scenario, ore from Chile is expected to be available for processing by mid-2016.”

The hearings are part of the ongoing case against the Toronto-based miner in Chile, led by Diaguita community, who want Barrick’s licence revoked for good.

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. The mine is set to become one of the top gold and silver mines in Chile, the world’s top copper producer.