A Chilean court has issued an injunction against Barrick Gold Corp.’s $8.5 billion Pascua Lama project following environmental complaints by indigenous communities. Expected to be one of the world’s largest, lowest-cost gold mines, its start date had been scheduled for Q2 2014.
Court officials in the northern city of Copiapo cited “environmental irregularities” amid Barrick’s construction of what would also be the world’s highest-altitude gold and silver mine; community representatives allege the operations have polluted drinking water. Straddling the Argentine border, the site lies near glaciers that local residents also say are jeopardized by Barrick’s project; an appeal could last months—with a strong possibility of hearings before Chile’s Supreme Court, Reuters reported.
Pascua Lama is forecast to produce 800,000 to 850,000 gold oz and 35 million silver oz in its first five years of production, according to company officials.