UPDATE 1-Canada's Barrick delays Pascua-Lama mine start again

martes 4 de junio de 2013 16:50 CEST

TORONTO, June 4 (Reuters) - Canada's Barrick Gold Corp said it would delay beyond 2014 the startup of its Pascua-Lama gold mine in Chile and Argentina, and as a result would likely exceed its current project budget of up to $8.5 billion.

Its shares fell 3.4 percent to C$21.22 on Tuesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In a filing with Canadian regulators late on Monday, Barrick attributed the delay to water management work required by Chile's environmental regulator. The miner did not make clear when it expects the controversial mine to start production or how much it now plans to spend on the development.

A Chilean court in April partially halted construction of Pascua-Lama, which straddles the border of Chile and Argentina, to weigh claims by indigenous communities that Barrick has damaged pristine glaciers and harmed water supplies.

Chile's new environmental regulator then also halted work in May, citing serious violations, and said the company must complete a water management system in accordance with its permits before restarting the build.

The head of the regulator told Reuters last week that the water management infrastructure needs would likely take one to two years to complete.

"While the company is assessing opportunities for potential reductions in certain expenditures, the delay beyond 2014 is expected to result in a related increase in capital cost," Barrick said in the filing.

While all nonenvironmental work is stopped in Chile, construction continues on the Argentine side of the project.   Continuación...