Barrick gold shipment detained by customs in the Dominican Republic

TORONTO – Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) said Thursday a shipment of gold from its Pueblo Viejo mine has been detained by customs authorities in the Dominican Republic.

The delay comes as the government in that country calls for Barrick to renegotiate its royalty contract.

“The company has provided customs with additional information and is seeking confirmation that the shipment can resume, while further investigating the cause of the delay,” Barrick said in a brief statement.

Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina and both houses of Congress have called on the company to re-open talks on the operating contract for the gold mine, which is one of the world’s largest.

The company said discussions with the government were ongoing, but the contract was legally binding.

Barrick holds a 60 per cent stake in the Pueblo Viejo mine, while with Goldcorp (TSX:G) owns the rest.

The mine, which cost $3.7 billion to build, reached commercial production in January and is expected to ramp up to full capacity in the second half of this year.

It is expected to operate for more than 25 years.