MAC: Mines and Communities

Barrick Land Buy Declared Null And Void

Published by MAC on 2006-06-22
Source: Fin24

Barrick land buy null and void


22nd June 2006

Santiago - A Chilean court on Wednesday declared Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp's purchase of 8 600 hectares of land around its planned Pascua-Lama gold mine null and void, the financial news website reported. Barrick Gold Chile officials weren't immediately available to comment on the court decision, but a spokesperson said a statement would be issued shortly.

After a five-year trial, Judge Maria Isabel Reyes ruled in favour of the defendant Rodolfo Villar, who sold the mining rights to these 8 600 hectares for approximately $20.

"The judge's ruling forces the restitution of Villar's mining concessions on a land that completely surrounds Pascua-Lama on the Chilean side," Villar's attorney Hernan Montealegre told the website.

"All the planned roads, water wells, meteorological wells, channels, camps, etc., would be on this site, so in reality exploiting this territory becomes impossible."

Once the court notifies the mining company, it has 10 days to file an appeal.

The $1.5bn gold and silver mine recently obtained the national environmental commission's final approval to go ahead with the mine, amid heavy protests from environmental groups. Construction on the mine is to begin later in the year. The mine, which straddles the Argentine-Chilean border, is to come on line in 2009.

In its first 10 years, Pascua-Lama is expected to produce an average 750 000 ounces of gold and 30 million ounces of silver each year. The mine's life is estimated at 20 years, unless new reserves are found.

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