The decision to extend the life of Veladero mine in Argentina follows the completion of a comprehensive review of its strategy and business plan
Canadian gold mining company Barrick Gold has announced its decision to extended the operational life of the Veladero gold mine in San Juan Province, Argentina located in the highly prospective Frontera District, to at least 10 years.
A 50/50 joint venture operation between Barrick Gold and China’s state-owned entity Shandong Gold, the Veladero mine is located at elevations of 4,000 to 4,850m above sea level, approximately 374km northwest of the city of San Juan.
The mine’s operational life extension decision follows the completion of a comprehensive review of its strategy and business plan.
Barrick president and chief executive officer Mark Bristow said: “Our review included the reinterpretation of the mine’s geology and an ongoing infill drilling campaign.
“We established exploration and resource management teams to identify satellite orebodies with the potential to deliver an increase in resources and reserves. Our aim is to extend Veladero’s life of mine beyond 2030 and elevate it to a Tier One asset.”
Veladero mine to be connected to cleaner power from the grid in Chile
As part of the Veladero revitalising programme, Bristow is planning to connect the mine to cleaner, cheaper power from the grid in neighboring Chile.
Upon completion scheduled in the second half of this year, the mine’s carbon footprint is expected to be reduced.
The move is also expected to reduce the mine’s cut-off grade, thus creating an opportunity to further increase the mineable reserves, the company said.
The Veladero mine revitalising programme also includes the leach pad expansion and creation of new employment opportunities.
The firm noted that a new community fund has been launched for the mine, which is expected to generate more than $88m for local infrastructure development over the next decade depending on production.
Bristow added: “Argentina has the potential to rebuild its economy for its people and Veladero can make a significant contribution to that process.
“Realizing that potential requires the government and the industry to work together towards long-term goals and to guard against short-term fiscal measures which could destroy this opportunity.”
In 2017, Barrick Gold formed a joint venture with Shandong Gold by selling half of its stake in the Veladero mine.