Following a major rainfall event, a buildup of rainwater has damaged the tailings facility at Pueblo Viejo, a joint venture gold project between Barrick Gold and Goldcorp. The facility, which is under construction and has not yet reached its full storage capacity, currently contains only rainwater and accumulated runoff from recent storms. All other areas of the project, including several other facilities under construction, were unaffected by the recent storms.
Located in the Dominican Republic, the area around the project site has received 217 mm of rain during a 48-hour period in late May. According to available records, this is a historically high level of precipitation. Pueblo Viejo managers notified local and national authorities, and alerted local communities promptly with concerns over rising water levels. The majority of site employees have been evacuated as a precautionary measure in the event that road access is damaged. There have been no injuries related to this event. Water levels in the tailings facility are being carefully monitored and site employees have installed extra pumps and cut additional spillways to alleviate the buildup of rainwater.
The rainfall event is expected to affect the project’s start-up schedule, which previously anticipated production to commence in the first quarter 2012. A process is under way to assess the damage to the tailings facility and the impact to both the construction timeline and the pre-production capital budget of $3.3-$3.5 billion (100% basis).