MAC: Mines and Communities

Barrick gets court go-ahead on Cortez Hills

Published by MAC on 2010-05-01
Source: Reuters, Canadian Press

In December 2009, the Western Shoshone won a legal victory on the expansion of Barrick Gold's key Cortez gold mine in Nevada. See:

Yet despite this the company proceeded with the project. It now appears that Barrick has been granted a "more tailored" injunction, allowing it to continue operations while the U.S. Bureau of Land Management conducts a study into three aspects of the project.

Barrick gets court go-ahead on Cortez Hills


14 April 2010

TORONTO - Barrick Gold said on Wednesday that a U.S. district court has ruled it can continue mining operations at its Cortez Hills gold mine in Nevada while additional environmental assessments on the project proceed.

In December, Barrick's shares tumbled after a U.S. appeals court ruled that the project -- which has faced opposition from local native Indian leaders and environmental groups -- requires additional environmental analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The appeals court directed the District Court of Nevada to issue an injunction that could either halt all work at Cortez Hills, or stop only specific operations at the site.

In January, Barrick asked the district court to issue only a limited injunction that would allow work at its Cortez Hills mine in Nevada to continue while the U.S. Bureau of Land Management completes an additional study of three aspects of the project.

"The court has affirmed that the supplemental studies can be completed by the Bureau of Land Management without halting our operations," said Greg Land, president of Barrick's North American operations, in a statement.

Production Outlook

The $500 million Cortez Hills mine is an expansion of Barrick's existing Cortez mine. The expansion is one of the company's key growth projects, with production from Cortez Hills expected to begin this year.

Barrick said its combined Cortez operations are expected to produce about 1.08 million to 1.12 million ounces of gold in 2010.

The project is one of three massive mine projects -- Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic and Pascua Lama on the border of Chile and Argentina are the others -- that Barrick expects to boost its production and lower its average cost as they open over the next few years.

Barrick said it expects its overall 2010 production to be between 7.6 million to 8 million ounces at total cash costs of $425 to $455 per ounce.

Shares of Barrick were up 1.1 percent at C$40.85 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning. ($1=$1.00 Canadian)

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway)

Barrick Gold welcomes U.S. court's decision to allow mine work to go ahead

Canadian Press (CP)

14 April 2010

TORONTO - Barrick Gold Corp. is welcoming a U.S. court decision that will allow the Toronto-based gold miner to forge ahead with its Cortez Hills mine in Nevada.

A coalition of opponents had asked a complete halt of work at the project while the U.S. Bureau of Land Management conducted a study of certain aspects.

Instead, Judge Larry Hicks came up with what Barrick calls a "more tailored" injunction.

Barrick won't shift ore off the Cortez Hills site for processing while the study is being conducted and made available for public comment.

The amount of water pumped from the mine will also be limited.

Barrick said it expects the study and public comment to be completed prior to the end of this year.

"The court's order is a great relief to all of us at Barrick, especially to the many people who are directly employed at Cortez Hills," said Greg Lang, president of Barrick's North America Region.

The company says the Cortez Hills and Pipeline Mine in Lander County, Nevada, employs more than 1,000 people.

Barrick said the overall Cortez operations are expected to produce about 1.08-1.12 million ounces of gold in 2010 - about 14 per cent of the company's overall anticipated production this year.

Barrick, the world's largest gold producer, says it expects to product between 7.6 million and eight million ounces of gold this year. It has mines in Canada, the United States, Africa and Australia.

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