After a four-month investigation, Chile’s environmental regulator has halted construction of Barrick Gold’s Pascua-Lama mine. A fine of more than $16 million was imposed on the Canadian company for “serious” and “very serious” environmental violations. The mining project, originally set up to take advantage of the thousands of tons of gold and silver deposits in the region, straddles the Chilean-Argentinian border. Despite the Chile’s ruling, Argentinian officials have declared that the project will move forward with or without Chilean cooperation. Barrick’s share values have plummeted in the last year due to complications with the Pascua-Lama mine. Violations varied from Barrick’s building in areas without seeking prior approval, to an “unjustified discharge coming from the acid treatment plant to the Estrecho river,” which contaminated local water sources.
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Barrick Gold`s „Pascua-Lama- Project“ in which several thousand tons of gold, silver and coppershould should be mined has been stopped due to the violation of various environmental standards.A fine of 16. 4 Mil. $1 has already been imposed on Barrick by the Chilean environmental supervisory authority (SMA) in May, 2013. Nevertheless, the development of the mine will be postponed further, because the gold price is unprofitable and Barrick has to expect a recalculation of the punishment. Barrick had tried to appeal against at the revaluation of the fine in Novermber 2014, which was rejected. The background to this is the determination of the penal payment by the SMA against which an environmental court from Santiago has lodged an objection in March, 2014. According to the court, the penal payment has been calculated wrongly and the administrative management of the authority was biased. The Chilean Supreme Court supported this view. Barrick possibly has to expect to make higher payments, because the SMA has been instructed the recalculate the fine.2
- Barrick (2013): http://www.barrick.com/investors/news/news-details/2013/Barrick-to-Assess-Implications-of-SMA-Resolution/default.aspx (accessed 14.01.2015) [↩]
- Barrick (2014): http://www.barrick.com/investors/news/news-details/2014/Chilean-Supreme-Court-Ruling-on-Pascua-Lama/default.aspx (accessed 14.01.2015) [↩]