MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Barrick bids Famatina project goodbye, La Rioja

Published by MAC on 2007-05-16

Barrick bids Famatina project goodbye, La Rioja

Business News Americas staff reporters

16th May 2007

Canadian miner Barrick Gold announced in a statement that it has decided to definitively abandon the Famatina gold project in northwest Argentina's La Rioja province. "We announced in March that [preliminary] exploration works would be suspended and right now we are in the process of taking down our camp," Rodrigo Jiménez, the company's spokesperson in Argentina, told BNamericas.

Jiménez explained that Famatina is just one of over 100 exploration projects the company has around the world and that it is not among Barrick's priorities. The company announced the suspension of exploration in La Rioja after the province's lower house approved a bill to prohibit open-pit mining and the use of pollutants.

According to local press reports, Barrick's exit may have been prompted by protests by environmental groups that have been blocking access to the area for several months. The move was agreed upon during talks between provincial authorities and company representatives.

INVESTMENT CLIMATE

Barrick said in its statement that competition for attracting investments in this type of project is fairly tough throughout the world, "which is why countries need to guarantee a stable and attractive investment climate for investors that take risks with their capital, in everything from political to economic and social environments."

The company added that - in all of its projects - Barrick adheres to the respective country's legislation and works under a policy of responsible mining. Barrick's activities in Argentina are focused in San Juan province at the Veladero mine and the Pascua Lama project that straddles the border with Chile.

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