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Barrick agrees to independent environmental studies for Pueblo Viejo expansion

Pueblo Viejo gold mine, a joint venture between Barrick (60%) and Newmont Goldcorp (40%). (Image courtesy of RoyaldGold Inc.)

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) and its key stakeholders have agreed on independent government-led oversight of the environmental and social impact studies for the Pueblo Viejo gold mine expansion in Dominican Republic.

The $1.3 billion project will extend the mine life until 2040 and beyond by expanding the mill and the tailings management facility. The expansion will also enable the mining of lower grades in the existing deposit.

The expansion has been under study since May 2019. The decision to proceed was made in March last year, and the company has been working with nearby communities since then. The studies will be conducted by a leading international firm and run in parallel with Barrick’s engineering and environmental studies.

“The expansion project has the potential to allow Pueblo Viejo to convert approximately 9 million oz. of measured and indicated resources to proven and probable reserves,” Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said in a press release.

Bristow also said that with the expansion, Pueblo Viejo’s total economic contribution to the Dominican government in direct and indirect taxes is expected to be over $9 billion since the beginning of production in 2013 through 2040. The mine is the Dominican Republic’s largest corporate taxpayer.

The Pueblo Viejo mine is a joint venture between Barrick (60%) and Newmont (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM) (40%). The mine is forecast to produce between 470,000 and 510,000 oz. of gold this year at an all-in sustaining cost of $760-$810 per ounce.

(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner)