Gold News

Pascua Lama fate 'in the hands of Argentinean officials'

The future of Barrick's Pascua Lama gold project in South America lies in the hands of Argentinean politicians and their priorities.

Speaking to Mineweb, Barrick president and chief executive Greg Wilkins said that support from local officials for the project remains very good but added: "I remain somewhat cautious about progress on the federal side where we've had agreement for some time with respect to trans-border issues. We have just not been able to bring those agreements to signature."

Pascua Lama is a $2.4 billion project with proven and probable reserves of around 18 million ounces. Any hold-ups with its development (the plan is for production to begin in 2009) could have an impact on the price of gold around the world, especially at a time when major projects of this kind are few and far between.

Wilkins continued: "We're not prepared to move forward with a major construction project of this magnitude until we have all of our 'i's dotted and 't's crossed. We've been very consistent about that from the beginning."

He did say the firm was optimistic about the mine, however.

The Pascua Lama project has been the subject of much controversy because it is close to environmentally sensitive glaciers.


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