The Antofagasta Environmental Court has upheld the decision for closure orders and sanctions imposed on the Pascua-Lama project. The project is a subsidiary of Barrick Gold’s Chilean portion of the project.

Barrick released a statement saying that e ruling drew a line under a legal process that started in 2013 and the company would not appeal it. Construction was suspended that year and Pascua would now be transitioned from care and maintenance to closure in accordance with the Environmental Court’s decision.

Following the ruling, Marcelo Álvarez, Barrick’s executive director for Chile and Argentina, said Pascua-Lama remained an important project and work is already under way to re-evaluate its potential. This involves a comprehensive internal review of its technical, economic and social aspects as well as different approaches to permitting and development should the ongoing studies deliver a project that meets Barrick’s investment filters. He confirmed that any new project development would comply with current legislation in both Chile and Argentina.

“Barrick is a very different company since its merger with Randgold and we now have a strong focus on establishing good relations with the communities and authorities,” he said.

Despite the major setback, maintained that the company still saw major potential in the region and was committed to investing further in Chile and Argentina. “As elsewhere in the Barrick group, we will ensure that the economic benefits we create are shared equitably with our stakeholders and that our operations are conducted with due care for health, safety and the environment,” he said.

While the project was suspended, Pascua-Lama continued to treat and monitor water quality in order to meet its environmental commitments. The Environmental Court acknowledged that none of the earlier infringements which prompted the closure order had caused irreparable damage.

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