Canada-based gold mining company Barrick Gold has announced plans to extend the operational life of the Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic beyond 2040.

The Pueblo Viejo gold mine is located nearly 100km northwest of Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Doming.

Pueblo Viejo Dominicana (PVDC), a joint venture between Barrick (60%) and Newmont (40%), is the operator of the mine.

As part of the plan, Barrick said it plans to make an initial investment of $1.3bn to expand the process plant and the tailings facility at the mine.

The extension plan would increase the Pueblo Viejo gold mine’s exports by $22bn

The extension project is expected to increase the mine’s exports by $22bn and generate more than $4bn in taxes at a gold price of $1,500 per ounce.

Barrick Gold said that the mine expansion would allow it to exploit the lower grades in the orebody.

Barrick Gold president and chief executive of operator Mark Bristow said: “Our aim is to continue contributing to the social and economic development of the Dominican Republic by applying our sustainability philosophy to create long-term value for all our stakeholders, especially the governments and people of our host countries.

“Without this project mining at Pueblo Viejo would have ceased in the next two years.”

Bristow also said that the conversion of the mine’s Quisqueya 1 power plant to natural gas, had been completed. The move is expected to reduce greenhouse gases by 30% and nitrogen oxide by 85%.

Moreover, the conversion of the facility was estimated to reduce the mine’s average cost of sales and all-in sustaining costs by approximately $54 per ounce over the life of the mine.