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Barrick suspends construction of its troubled Pascau-Lama mine in South America

In this May 23, 2013 photo, mining trucks sit parked on the facilities at the Barrick Gold Corp's Pascua-Lama project facilities in northern Chile.
In this May 23, 2013 photo, mining trucks sit parked on the facilities at the Barrick Gold Corp's Pascua-Lama project facilities in northern Chile. Jorge Saenz/The Canadian Press

TORONTO – The world’s largest gold mining company has decided to temporarily suspend construction of its troubled Pascua-Lama gold mine that straddles the border between Chile and Argentina.

READ MORE: Barrick Gold pleased Chile court has upheld Pascua-Lama permit

Barrick said Thursday in its earnings release that the decision to re-start will depend on improved project economics, the outlook for metal prices, and reduced uncertainty associated with legal and regulatory requirements.

READ MORE: Chilean court suspends Barrick mine due to environmental irregularities

Earlier this year, Chile’s environmental regulator stopped construction its side of the border and imposed sanctions on the $8.5 billion mine, citing “serious violations” of its environmental permit. Barrick has already spent $5 billion on the project, which sits 6,400 feet (5,000 metres) above sea level. Barrick had hoped to begin production in early 2014, and previously warned shareholders that it might abandon Pascua’s Chilean side because of construction delays.

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