(Adds confirmation from authorities in Argentina, background)
Oct 4 Barrick Gold Corp said on Tuesday
normal operations had resumed at its Veladero mine in Argentina
following approval from local authorities after processing
solution containing cyanide spilled last month.
Operations were suspended at the mine on Sept. 15 after
falling ice damaged a pipe, spilling some crushed ore saturated
with process solution containing cyanide. This is the second
cyanide spill in just over a year at Veladero.
A spokesman for the province of San Juan confirmed local
judge Hugo Quiroga had lifted the suspension.
"The mining company completed the measures required ... so
the resumption of mining was ordered," said Osvaldo Lima,
undersecretary of public information of San Juan.
Measures ordered by the province included increasing the
height of the perimeter berms, or raised banks, surrounding the
leach pad where the gold is leached from the ore.
Barrick, the world's biggest gold producer by output, said
it would continue to assess the impact of the temporary
suspension on Veladero's production for this year.
However, the Toronto-based miner continues to expect total
production for the company to be in the range of 5 million to
5.5 million ounces at all-in sustaining costs in a range of $750
to $790 an ounce.
Veladero, an open pit mine, is one of Barrick's five core
operations. The company is targeting production of 580,000 to
640,000 ounces of gold a year from the mine.
Barrick said "extensive" water monitoring in the area had
confirmed the incident did not have any environmental impact.
The spilled material remained within the boundaries of the mine
The miner has not said how much processing solution spilled.
Barrick was fined nearly $10 million by authorities in San Juan
for last year's leak, which was caused by a defective valve.
Barrick's shares were down 7.3 percent at C$21.12, in line
with other gold stocks as the sector was punctured by bullion's
slide to below $1,300 an ounce, its lowest level in three
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; additional reporting
by by Maximilian Heath in Buenos Aires; Editing by Marguerita
Choy and Alan Crosby)