Barrick says Pascua-Lama will be delayed and cost more after problems

TORONTO – Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) said Monday that production from its Pascua-Lama project will be delayed past the second half of 2014, as it had previously expected.

According to documents filed with U.S. securities regulators, the company also said the delay is expected to result in a higher pricetag for the massive project, which is currently estimated to cost US$8.5 billion.

Last month, Chile’s environmental regulator blocked Barrick from work on the Pascua-Lama project and imposed its a $16 million fine due to violations of the company’s environmental permit.

The regulator stopped construction work until Barrick builds the systems it promised to put in place beforehand for containing contaminated water.

Barrick said it was reviewing the decision in detail and was in talks with Chilean authorities regarding the implications of the ruling.

The company said it was “fully committed to complying with all aspects of the SMA resolution and to operating at the highest environmental standards.”

The Pascua-Lama project is on the border of Chile and Argentina.