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Barrick Gold Temporarily Halts Operations at Veladero Mine

Zacks

Barrick Gold Corporation ABX stated that the Government of San Juan province, Argentina announced a temporary suspension of operations at the Veladero mine pending further inspections of the mine's heap leach area.

Barrick noted that a pipe carrying process solution in the heap leach area was damaged last Thursday when it was hit by a large block of ice that had rolled down the heap leach valley slope. A small quantity of solution left the leach pad as a result of this incident. No solution from the damaged pipe reached any water diversion channels or watercourses.

The affected area in the leach valley has now been remediated. The incident did not harm the health of employees, communities or the environment. Environmental monitoring of surface and sub-surface water has been intensified and no irregularity has been detected.

Effective immediately, Barrick will work with provincial authorities to verify the integrity and safety of the heap leach facility. The safety of the employees and the environment remains Barrick's top priority at Veladero. At this time, the company does not expect any material impact to Veladero's operating guidance for 2016.


Production at Veladero decreased 21% year over year to 119,000 ounces in second-quarter 2016 at an average all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $744 per ounce. The lower production was mainly due to reduced tons placed on the leach pad and unexpected severe winter weather conditions. Barrick expects gold production at the mine to be in the range of 580,000 to 640,000 ounces in 2016.

In Jul 2016, Barrick reiterated its overall gold production outlook for 2016. It expects to produce 5–5.5 million ounces of gold at lower AISC of $750–$790 per ounce. The company raised its copper production outlook to the range of 380−430 million pounds. The increased production guidance is due to commercial production having started at Jabal Sayid.

On completion of its underground development in the second-half 2017, the mine is estimated to produce 100 million pounds of copper annually.
Barrick Gold currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked companies in the gold mining space include New Gold Inc. NGD, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. AU and IAMGOLD Corp. IAG. While New Gold sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), AngloGold and IAMGOLD carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here

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