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Chilean court mandates shutdown of Barrick's Pascua-Lama, confirms US$11.5M fine

Chile's environmental court ordered Barrick Gold Corp. to close the Chilean side of its Pascua-Lama gold-silver project and confirmed a US$11.5 million fine against the Canadian miner, Reuters reported Oct. 12.

The project, located on the border of Chile and Argentina, is operating under a temporary closure plan after it was put on hold in 2013 due to environmental issues, political opposition, labor unrest and development costs that ballooned to US$8.5 billion.

In January, environmental agency Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente, imposed revised sanctions on the miner's operation, including the closure of existing facilities on the Chilean side of the property and the reduction of an approximately US$16 million fine imposed in 2013 to US$11.5 million.

The miner subsequently suspended the prefeasibility study at Pascua Lama, saying that completed work indicated that the project does not meet the company's investment criteria.