Mining is a long-term business. For this reason, the forecast of a worldwide drop in gold production in the next two years does not alter the plans of the mega companies committed to extracting it: in Argentina, the Barrick Gold mining company announced that it will extend the useful life of the Veladero mine, in San Juan, until 2033. They assure that, in this period, the project will have an impact on the economy of US $ 5.3 billion.
This was announced by the CEO of Barrick Gold, Mark Bristow, when he participated in the International Exhibition “San Juan, a factor for the development of Argentine mining,” which this time was held virtually. The businessman pointed out that in order to extend the performance of the mine, progress will be made in projects associated with other companies that could generate additional investments of about US $ 600 million. Some of those new cordilleran points where the mining company is carrying out exploration tasks are La Ortiga, Penélope, Porfiada and Cerro Pelado, among others.
According to the executive, “Argentina has enormous potential from a geological point of view. That is why Veladero can continue to operate. Argentina is a challenging place to operate due to financial restrictions, but we are committed to the Government to find acceptable solutions.” said the manager.
Bristow added that “the price of gold is also a very important component of the industry that since the 70s, the different events made its price rise as in recent months and the price will continue to be high in the future and opens up an opportunity and motivation. to continue exploring “.
“In 2019, Veladero was not viable at US $ 1,200 an ounce. But now, ten years from now, profitability, considering current prices, is very attractive,” said the businessman. The goal is to reach half a million ounces a year and lower costs by 50% so that it can be better priced. “As part of this process, the company plans to connect the mine with Pascua Lama’s electricity, which is cheaper than the one currently used in Veladero, with diesel.
According to the graphs presented during his presentation, Veladero contributed US $ 9.5 billion to the Argentine economy between 2005 and 2019. And it is expected, over the next 13 years, the generation of another US $ 5 billion of new value creation in the country in the form of wages, taxes and purchases of goods and services “.
Regarding the jobs generated in the mine, its 3,300 employees will be joined by another 400 new positions at the end of October, of which 93.5% are workers from San Juan, highlighted the CEO of the mining company, which, in the world, has 40 thousand employees.
Regarding the mining operation in the Pascua Lama binational project, closed in 2013 due to environmental concerns, the Barrick executive said “We are going to stop the fight. We have to start from scratch, with new permits, in an appropriate and more responsible manner. going forward, “he said.
According to Leandro Sastre Salim, Barrick Gold’s Vice President of Exploration in Latin America, in the area where the Veladero and Pascua Lama projects are located there are more than 40 million ounces identified. Therefore, according to the manager, the company continues to seek “opportunities in Argentina.” For example, it is doing it in the province of Salta, in an area called El Quevar, through an agreement signed with the company Golden Minerals.