Barrick eyes $1.3 billion lift at Pueblo Viejo gold mine

(Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO will look to spend $1.3 billion to extend the life of its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic beyond 2040, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said on Wednesday, as the miner looks to wring more value from its existing assets.

The proposed expansion of the processing plant and tailings facility at Pueblo Viejo will enable the mine to exploit lower grades, Bristow told local media and businessmen.

The mine, located about 100 km northwest of the capital Santo Domingo, is operated by a joint venture of which Barrick holds 60% and Newmont Corp NEM.N the remaining.

Barrick, the world’s No. 2 gold miner, said the expansion is not intended to process ore from outside the current concession area.

Barrick’s share of production at the mine last year was 590,000 ounces of gold, up from 581,000 in 2018.

Barrick has said expansion could support average annual gold production of 800,000 ounces on a 100% basis after 2022 and unlock 11 million ounces of reserves.

The miner also said the conversion of the Quisqueya 1 power plant to natural gas had successfully been commissioned with potential to lower greenhouse gases by 30% and nitrogen oxide by 85%.

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru and Jeff Lewis in Toronto; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Nick Zieminski