December 31, 2014 / 11:54 PM / 3 years ago

Barrick says Chile court won't hear its appeal on Pascua-Lama fine

Dec 31 (Reuters) - Chile’s Supreme Court has declined to hear Barrick Gold Corp’s appeal of a lower court’s decision involving fines imposed on its Pascua-Lama project by the country’s environmental regulator, the company said on Wednesday.

Chile’s environmental regulator, known as the SMA, fined Barrick $16 million in May 2013 for not complying with some of the country’s environmental requirements for its massive Pascua-Lama gold and silver project.

However, Chile’s Environment Court subsequently found the fines were not properly determined. Barrick, the world’s biggest gold producer, appealed the decision.

In the latest development, the Supreme Court said it would not hear the appeal as Canadian-based Barrick is not a party to the case because the original action was against the SMA.

As a result of the ruling, the SMA will now re-evaluate the fines it imposed on the project. Barrick gave no indication of the possible size of a new fine.

A Barrick spokesman could not be reached for comment.

At one time its biggest new development project, Barrick halted the development of Pascua-Lama in October 2013 after spending more than $5 billion.

The project, on the border between Chile and Argentina, had been plagued by political opposition, permitting issues, labor unrest, cost-overruns and a falling gold price.

Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver. Editing by Andre Grenon

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