/ By Clive Minchom /
On a state visit to Canada to discuss Canada-Chile mutual economic relations, Sebastian Pinera, President of Chile yesterday held a joint press conference with Stephen Harper Canada’s Prime Minister.
“The company didn’t comply with all the conditions that were established in that environmental impact assessment, ” Mr. Pinera said during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “We have identified 23 areas where they will have to improve their behaviour with respect to the environment in Chile.”
According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, TD Securities Inc. analyst Greg Barnes forecasts that first production from Pascua-Lama is still possible in late 2015, a significant delay from original expectations for a targeted start in late 2014. But if Barrick were to voluntarily choose to temporarily stop the project until the price of gold recovers, it would be hugely disruptive to the world’s largest gold producer, he said. “It would be expensive to suspend. It would annoy the regulator and the government, and you would lose the momentum on the project.”
Mr. Pinera said he is counting on Barrick to comply with Chile’s “environmental legislation and procedures and standards, ” adding that he hopes “the investment will be able to continue and it will be very important because this is an investment which is done in the high mountains, very close to the frontiers with Chile and Argentina.”
Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd said Thursday that the company continues to evaluate the regulator’s order and examine “the work required to achieve compliance. Barrick is fully committed to complying with all aspects of project’s environmental permit and to operating at the highest environmental standards.” While Barrick declined to outline the steps required to restart Pascua-Lama’s construction on the Chilean side, the company acknowledged that certain components of the project deviated from construction plans and fell short of requirements for environmental approvals.