Barrick Gold Corp. Executive Chairman John Thornton flew to Argentina after authorities threatened to rescind the license for the Veladero mine on the same day the company agreed to sell half the asset.
Thornton joined President Kelvin Dushnisky, Chief Operating Officer Richard Williams and Chief Financial Officer Catherine Raw in meetings with local managers in Buenos Aires as the world’s top gold producer deals with the fallout from the third incident involving cyanide solution in two years.
“It underscores how seriously the company and the management team takes this issue,” Andy Lloyd, a spokesman for Barrick, said by telephone from Toronto. On Thursday, Barrick announced a $960 million deal with China’s Shandong Gold Group for a 50 percent stake in Veladero.
On the same day, Argentina’s Energy and Mining Minister Juan Jose Aranguren and San Juan Governor Sergio Unac met with Dushnisky and board members. Following that meeting, the authorities said “the continuity of Barrick Gold’s activities in the country is subject to the presentation and approval of a new comprehensive work plan.”
On Friday, Federal Environment Minister Sergio Bergman said he was seeking a full suspension of activities at the mine through a federal court until guarantees are in place to safeguard water supplies after a pipe carrying cyanide solution ruptured on March 28.
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