“Our review included the reinterpretation of the mine’s geology and an ongoing infill drilling campaign. We established exploration and resource management teams to identify satellite orebodies with the potential to deliver an increase in resources and reserves. Our aim is to extend Veladero’s life of mine beyond 2030 and elevate it to a Tier One asset.”
Mark Bristow President and Chief Executive Officer Barrick Gold Corporation.
The life of the Veladero gold mine in Argentina has been extended to at least 10 years following a comprehensive review of its strategy and business plan, Barrick President and Chief Executive officer Mark Bristow said today.
Bristow was briefing an Argentinian audience of local media, government authorities and local business and community leaders on the mine’s progress from Barrick’s offices in Chile, via a video conference to comply with the Covid-19 related travel restrictions imposed by Argentina.
“Our review included the reinterpretation of the mine’s geology and an ongoing infill drilling campaign. We established exploration and resource management teams to identify satellite orebodies with the potential to deliver an increase in resources and reserves. Our aim is to extend Veladero’s life of mine beyond 2030 and elevate it to a Tier One asset,” he said.
Barrick defines a Tier One mine as one that produces in excess of 500,000 ounces of gold per annum and has a life of at least 10 years. Bristow said the next step in Veladero’s transformation would be to connect the mine to cleaner, cheaper power from the grid in neighboring Chile. Once commissioned in the second half of this year, this could halve the mine’s carbon footprint and potentially reduce its cut-off grade, creating an opportunity to further increase the mineable reserves.
Projects related to revitalizing Veladero, such as the leach pad expansion, have created new employment opportunities, with the number of direct employees and contractors rising by 1,400 to almost 5,000 since January 2019, and the number of local suppliers increasing almost threefold1. In line with Barrick’s local employment policy, 99% of Barrick’s workforce are Argentinian.
Since 2005 Veladero has contributed some $9.5 billion to the Argentinian economy through taxes, royalties, salaries and payments to local suppliers. The mine has established a new community fund which, depending on production, is expected to generate more than $88 million for local infrastructure development over the next decade.
“Argentina has the potential to rebuild its economy for its people and Veladero can make a significant contribution to that process. Realizing that potential requires the government and the industry to work together towards long-term goals and to guard against short-term fiscal measures which could destroy this opportunity,” Bristow said.