A longer life for Veladero

Following a comprehensive evaluation of its strategy and business plan, Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow said the company planned to keep its Veladero gold operation in Argentina running for “at least” another decade
A longer life for Veladero A longer life for Veladero A longer life for Veladero A longer life for Veladero A longer life for Veladero

The Veladero gold mine is located in San Juan province, Argentina

Mark Bristow, who made the announcement via video conference from Chile amid Argentina's COVID-19 action plan restricting travel, said the aim was to extend Veladero's lifespan beyond 2030.

Additionally, Barrick wants to elevate Veladero to a Tier 1 asset, which the company classifies as a mine that produces more than 500,000 ounces of gold per year and has a life of at least 10 years.

"Our review included the reinterpretation of the mine's geology and an ongoing infill drilling campaign," Bristow said. "We established exploration and resource management teams to identify satellite orebodies with the potential to deliver an increase in resources and reserves."

Barrick's next move will be linking Veladero to the Chilean grid for cleaner and more cost-efficient power. The project has the potential to cut the mine's carbon footprint in half once it is commissioned in the second half of this year.

It could also potentially reduce the mine's cut-off grade, creating an opportunity to further increase the mineable reserves, the miner said.

Barrick confirmed that Veladero's employment numbers have risen due to ongoing projects to revitalise the operation, including a leach-pad expansion. Direct employee and contractor numbers have risen by 1,400 to around 5,000 since the beginning of 2019, and its local supplier list has increased almost threefold.

The Veladero mine is located in Argentina's San Juan province, 374 kilometers northwest of the city of San Juan. It is a 50-50 joint venture operation with Shandong Gold.