Barrick picks project director for suspended Pascua-Lama project

Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:44am EST
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TORONTO Nov 13 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp, one of the world's largest gold miners, said Thursday it had appointed Sergio Fuentes project director for its suspended Pascua-Lama gold and copper development in South America to try and improve project returns.

Executive project director Fuentes will also focus on optimizing engineering and developing an execution plan for remaining construction at the project.

In the short term, the former Codelco executive will oversee final engineering for a water management system in Chile and try to reduce care and maintenance costs, Barrick said.

A decision to restart the huge Pascua-Lama project, which straddles the Chilean and Argentine border, would depend on the resolution of permissioning and legal matters in Chile and improved project economics, the Toronto-based company said.

Barrick mothballed the remote Pascua-Lama project in October 2013, in a surprise reversal on a project that had already cost more than $5 billion.

The company had counted on the project to provide a large share of future gold production, but it was plagued by political opposition, permitting issues, labor unrest, cost overruns and a sharp drop in bullion prices. (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Bernadette Baum)