September 24, 2015 / 9:44 PM / 3 years ago

Argentine judge lifts order against Barrick Gold's Veladero mine

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 24 (Reuters) - An Argentine judge on Thursday lifted his order forbidding Barrick Gold Corp’s from pumping cyanide solution for the leaching process in its Veladero mine, saying a leak had not contaminated water in the surrounding area.

Barrick had said that the Sept. 13 leak, due to a faulty valve, was detected almost immediately and that there had been no contamination of nearby rivers.

Throughout the suspension, the miner had been able to use cyanide solution already pumped into the leaching system, meaning production was not impacted.

“The water did not contain cyanide or other contaminating metals, so I decided to lift the cautionary measure,” Judge Pablo Oritja, in the western San Juan province where the open-pit mine is located, told television channel TN.

He added, however, that a special committee would spend 30 days investigating if there was any contamination in the region in order to reassure the local population.

The Veladero mine produced 722,000 ounces of gold last year and is forecast contribute about 10 percent of Barrick’s 2015 gold output, according to RBS Capital. (Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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