IN what is a major milestone for the company, Barrick Gold has achieved first gold production from its new Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic.
Ore is now being processed through the first two of four autoclaves and the Toronto-based company expects commercial production to commence at the $3.8 million mine, which is 60 per cent owned by Barrick, by the fourth quarter of 2012. Pueblo Viejo, about 100km northwest of the capital Santo Domingo, is one of the largest gold deposits in the world.
It currently has 25.3 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves. Barrick president and chief executive Jamie Sokalsky said the mine was brought into production on schedule and within capital guidance, which was a major achievement for the company.
“Pueblo Viejo is a world-class asset: one of only a handful of mines that will produce more than one million ounces of gold per year,” he said.
“We expect it to be a major contributor of low-cost production to Barrick for decades to come.”
The company will now proceed with remaining plant commissioning activities, including installation of the final two autoclaves.
Barrick’s share of the 2012 production from Pueblo Viejo is expected to be between 100,000oz and 125,000oz at total cash costs of between C$400 and C$500 per ounce.
In the first five years of operation, Barrick’s share of production is anticipated to be between 625,000oz and 675,000oz at total cash costs of between C$300 and C$350 per ounce.
Barrick has interests in 26 operating mines and advanced exploration and development projects across the world.