Photo: Barrick Gold's construction site at Pascua Lama
Canada’s Barrick Gold expects to finish earthworks construction this year at the Pascua Lama open-pit gold and silver mine project on the Argentine-Chilean border with a view to inaugurating production in 2013, an Argentine government official said.
Mining Secretary Jorge Mayoral analyzed the progress of the project Friday with Barrick executives, his portfolio said in a statement.
“During production, starting in 2013, nearly 7,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created,” the statement said, adding that average annual production from Pascua Lama is expected to come in at 800,000 ounces of gold and 35 million ounces of silver in the first full five years of operation.
Pascua Lama, the world’s first bi-national mining project, straddles a border area that encompasses parts of the western Argentine province of San Juan and of Chile’s Atacama region and is located at an elevation of 3,800-5,200 meters (12,500-17,000 feet).
The project has received strong bi-national government support, although it has been staunchly opposed by environmental groups.
But Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, insists that its activities will not affect ice fields and glaciers in the vicinity of the mine.