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Operations Contain 682.5 Million Ounces Of Reserves


TORONTO - Barrick Gold Corporation reported that in the first half of 2013, the Lagunas Norte produced 276,000 ounces of gold. Proven and probable gold reserves were 5.8 million ounces.

Lagunas Norte is located on the Alto Chicama property in north-central Peru, 140 kilometers east of the coastal city of Trujillo. The property lies on the western flank of the Peruvian Andes and is at an elevation of 4,000 to 4,260 meters above sea level. The mine is an open-pit, crush, valley-fill heap leach op-eration.

A new carbon-in-column plant, designed to de-bottleneck ore feed from the expanded leach pad to the Merrill Crowe plant, is on track to start up in the fourth quarter.

The Pierina mine produced 46,000 ounces of gold in the first half of 2013, Proven and probable mineral reserves were 542,000 ounces of gold.

The Pierina mine is located in the Andean Cordillera in the Department of Ancash in north-central Peru, approximately 10 kilometers northwest of the city of Huaraz, at an altitude of approximately 4,100 meters.

Pierina is an open-pit, truck-and-loader operation. Ore is crushed and transported through an overland conveyor to the leach pad area. Run-of-mine ore is trucked directly to a classic valley-fill type of leach pad.

The Pascua-Lama, one of the world’s largest gold and silver resources with nearly 18 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves, 676 million ounces of silver contained within the gold reserves, and an anticipated mine life of 25 years. It is expected to produce an average of 800,000-850,000 ounces of gold and 35 million ounces of silver in its first full five years of operation at very low costs. While Barrick recorded a significant impairment to this asset in the second quarter, it fully expects this mine to be one of the best in the world when in operation, and to contribute substantial economic value to the company. Pascua-Lama has significant value for Barrick and the project’s host jurisdictions of San Juan Province, Argentina and the Atacama Region of Chile. The Company continues to work closely with the governments of both countries to ensure Pascua-Lama is on the right path to deliver value for all of our stakeholders.

In the second quarter, the company received a resolution from Chile’s Superintendence of the Environment (Superinten-dencia del Medio Ambiente or “SMA”) that required completion of the project’s water management system in accordance with previously granted environmental permits before other construction activities in Chile could resume. Barrick is committed to operating at the highest environmental standards at all of its operations around the world, including at Pascua-Lama, and is working to meet all regulatory requirements at the project. 

The company has submitted a compliance plan for approval by Chilean regulatory authorities to complete the water management system by the end of 2014, subject to regulatory approval of specific permit applications. Following completion of the water management system to the satisfaction of the SMA, Barrick expects to be in a position to resume construction in Chile, including pre-stripping. Under this scenario, ore from Chile is expected to be available for processing by mid-2016. In line with this timeframe and in light of materially lower metal prices, the company has decided to re-sequence construction of the process plant and other facilities in Argentina to target production by this date.

The decision to re-sequence the project, which entails a major reduction in project staffing levels over the extended schedule, will result in a significant deferral of planned capital spending in 2013-2014. Capital expenditures at Pascua-Lama over this period are expected to be reduced by a total of $1.5-$1.8 billion(6). For 2013, capital expenditures are expected to be reduced by approximately $0.7-$0.8 billion (including $300 million in previously announced deferrals) to approximately $1.8-$2.0 billion. Capital expenditures in 2014 are expected to be reduced by approximately $0.8-$1.0 billion to approximately $1.0-$1.2 billion. The company is targeting to provide an updated total capital cost estimate for the project with third quarter 2013 results which is expected to reflect an increase from the latest capital cost estimate. This is subject to obtaining greater clarity on timing of regulatory approvals and completing the re-sequenced construction schedule. As of June 30, 2013, approximately $5.4 billion had been spent on the project.

Subsequent to the quarter end, the Copiapo Court of Appeals in Chile issued its ruling on a constitutional rights protection action filed in September 2012 on behalf of four indigenous communities, on the basis of which a preliminary injunction suspending construction activities had been granted in April 2013. In its ruling, the Court stated that Barrick must complete construction of the water management system in compliance with applicable environmental permits to the satisfaction of the SMA before resuming construction activities in Chile. The Court’s ruling is consistent with the earlier SMA resolution which Barrick has been implementing. The water management design and construction scope has been awarded to Fluor, who has already mobilized a team of industry experts to the site.