the Australia Pacific region?
"(Pascua-Lama's) Production was expected to average around 825,000 ounces of gold and 35 million ounces of silver annually for the first five years. Furthermore, the mine was expected to be low-cost with an average all-in production cost per ounce in the low hundreds for the first few years.
Barrick has also admitted that it will have to take a $5.5 billion write-down on the mine due to rising costs, production delays, and the falling price of gold. Elsewhere, the company has cut 30% of its corporate staff in an attempt to reduce costs.
Surprisingly, Pascua-Lama's development has been stalled even though the mine was forecast to be one of Barrick's lowest all-in-cost-per-ounce mines, which does not bode well for higher cost mines; especially, Barrick's mines in the Australia Pacific region.
Barrick's all-in cost for production per ounce of gold from the mines in the Australia Pacific region, is between $1,200-$1,300. That means the company is losing money on gold mined in this region."
The largest gold mining company in the world, Barrick Gold and its Chilean subsidiary, Nevada Spa Mining, could lose in the coming months the Pascua deposit worth millions after a series of frauds regarding mining property and repeated poor environmental practices. The deposit is known as the Pascua-Lama, with the name Pascua from the Chilean side, and Lama from the Argentine side.
Barrick Gold is accused of illegally extracting gold minerals along with outlawed salt and nitrate concessions. The accusations include mining gold from Chile while ignoring a provisional Supreme Court measure that prohibits mining activity and securing new contracts, conducting business in the international bank with “phony” titles, and trying to obstruct justice using false testimony, among others. The accusations have been presented by Chilean mine owner, Jorge Lopehandía, who along with Mountainstar Gold Inc, were granted legal ownership of the Pascua mine in February.
On February 1, 2013, Alan GS Hultman, the lawyer for Mountainstar Gold Inc, received the Pascua Mine Chile property titles and its mining concessions.
On January 16, the titles were issued in Vallenar, Chile by the Mines Commissioner, Paulo Cortes Olguín. This grants sole legal jurisdiction over the Pascua Mine area concessions and titles, to Lopehandía, who has been threatened and pressured by Barrick Gold to waive his own rights.
The titles were authenticated by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Chilean Exterior Relations and have been validated by the Canadian Embassy in Santiago, Chile. This happened after Barrick tried to invalidate Lopehandía’s actions in Canada several times.
This is a check or almost checkmate for Barrick, because in Chile the only person authorized to grant a valid mining property certificate, or for that matter, who can validate the right [to mining property], is the Mines Commissionar, who in this case is from the the jurisdiction of the city of Vallenar.
The Mines Commissioner established in a legal document that the concessions of the Pascua Project in Chile: Tesoros Uno 1 al 30 through Tesoros Doce 1 al 5 are in Jorge Lopehandía’s name, making him the valid title-holder from 2013 onward.
Thus this advance ruling underscores that Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX), or its affiliates in Chile do not have titles nor have they ever had titles for these concessions.
Secondly, the Commissionar established through the work of Lopehandía’s mining agent, Mr. Villar, that “Amarillos North (12,850 acres) and Amarillos South (8,400 acres) have been Lopehandía’s property since 1996.
Both Lopehandía and Brent Johnson, his partner from Mountainstar Gold Inc, reiterated their confidence in the Chilean justice system, adding that “all the false declarations made by Barrick executives and their affiliates in Chile in relation to these titles, have given way to criminal chrges, and a call for jail sentences against those involved with the case.”
Barrick Paralyzed for Damaging the Environment
In addition, Barrick Gold has been ordered to pay the sum of 2,000 UTM a Chilean currency unit to calculate taxes, fines, and custom duties, close to 120 million pesos or $254,400 USD], a fine issued for irregularities in environmental mismanagement and for not fulfilling its commitments and mitigation measures of the Environmental Ratings Resolution (RCA in Spanish).
“All mining operations in Pascua Lama are paralyzed,” clarified Mauricio Pino, the Regional Ministerial Mining Secretary of Atacama.
The above finding was a result of the Atacama General Direction of Waters’(DGA in Spanish) detection of particulate matter in the surrounding glaciers, which the company had unsuccessfully attempted to hide.
Barrick is accused of failures in the handling of the mine’s wastewater plant, failure in the monitoring of the glaciers located in the Cordillera mountains of the Huasco valley in the Atacama region, and failures in its efforts to avoid transporting material over the glaciers, which threatens their conservation and the sustainability of the water flow in the basin.
Barrick risks losing its environmental permit from the Environmental Superintendent if it continues to commit these serious infractions.
It should also be added that in October 2012, work was already stopped by the National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) after they detected that the mines caused pollution and health risks to the workers.
I think they are being realistic as to a feasible timetable on Pascua Lama. It will take ABX at least a year to build out the water containment required by the Chilean environmental agency, which the government would then need to approve. This will take them to the last quarter of 2014. This puts them essentially at a time frame of 18 months to production that was forecast when the pre-stripping was halted in Oct 2012. Another 18 months and you are smack-dab in the middle of 2016 for first production. I don't think they can do it any faster.
Pascua was being Developed in 1997, Production in 2000, mtstack is trying to fool investors for the 18th year. Barrick doesn't own titles to The Pascua deposit.
In 1997 there was only The Pascua Mine (Chile). Lama (Argintina)never existed. Barrick was developing Pascua in 1997 and ready to start production in 2000 for $500 million.
There is a long history, it goes back. This from ABX 1997 Prospectus dated April 14, 1997:
"Pascua Mine Project"
"The Pascua Mine Project is located approximately 30 miles to the north of the El Indio Mine complex and adjacent to the Chile-Argentina border. The Project is at an elevation of between 12,000 and 16,000 feet. Barrick holds an 80% interest In the Pascua Mine Project through its indirect subsidiary, Campania Minera Nevada SA At the time of Barrick 's acquisition of the Project in September 1994, proven and probable gold reserves were approximately 2 million ounces. Barrick 's discovery of The Quebrada de Pascua deposit in 1995 and its other exploration activities have resulted in an 8.1 million Ounce Increase in the Pascua Mine Project’s total proven and probable gold reserves, which stood at Approximately 10.1 million ounces as at December 31, 1996, of which Barrick's share is approximately 8.1 million ounces. Development work is continuing at the Project, with construction costs for the initial Project to develop the oxide reserve expected to be approximately $500 million. Commercial production is currently expected to commence in 2000, and the mine is expected to produce an average of 400,000 ounces of gold per year for a minimum of 20 years."