March 23, 2015 / 7:29 PM / in 3 years

UPDATE 1-Chile environmental court rules Barrick project did not harm glaciers

(Adds background, court statement)

March 23 (Reuters) - Chile’s Environmental Court ruled on Monday that Barrick Gold Corp’s halted Pascua-Lama gold and silver project has not damaged glaciers within its “area of influence,” the Toronto-based gold producer said.

“We are pleased that the court has confirmed what the technical and scientific evidence demonstrates, that these ice bodies have not been damaged by activities at the Pascua-Lama project,” Eduardo Flores, Barrick’s executive director for Chile, said in a statement.

Barrick, the world’s biggest gold producer, said in October 2013 that it was stopping construction of the multibillion dollar project that had been plagued by lower bullion prices, permitting issues, political opposition and cost overruns.

It stressed at the time, however, that the decision to stop development was not the end of the road and that it would resume construction when conditions warrant.

Barrick said its Pascua-Lama team was working on resolving the project’s outstanding legal and regulatory hurdles, completing a new execution plan for the remaining construction activities and minimizing project costs.

The claims against Barrick were brought by local farmers and environmental groups and covered three glaciers and the valley into which their waters flow, according to a statement from the court in Santiago.

Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver and Rosalba O'Brien in Santiago; Editing by Richard Chang

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