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Canadian pension funds to meet with Barrick Gold over concerns

In late October, Toronto-based Barrick Gold announced it was temporarily suspending all construction activity on the open-pit Pascua Lama gold, silver and copper mine that straddles the border of Chile and Argentina. Production from the mine has now been delayed to mid-2016.

Mining.com reports, “After eight months of investigation a commission of Chile’s parliament’s lower house is recommending authorities to let Barrick Gold keep the environmental permit for its currently suspended Pascua Lama project. …(But) the committee also determined the Toronto-based firm did violate the terms of its permit, including workplace safety, environmental protection and construction of roads among others. Therefore, it suggested the establishment of additional conditions to the project, beginning with an exhaustive review of the permit issued in 2006 and the company’s glacier monitoring plan.”

The Globe and Mail adds, “The traditionally quiet Canadian pension funds (have) complained about how Barrick was governed, which led to Barrick’s boardroom shuffle in December. Representatives from the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and other big pension funds will talk to Barrick’s incoming chairman John Thornton and the company’s new lead independent director Brett Harvey on Tuesday (January 28).” This is presumably related to a media release issued last June that noted a law firm representing investors in Barrick Gold had filed a class action lawsuit in New York state saying the company had made “false and misleading statements and concealed material information relating to the cost and time-to-production projections for the company’s Pascua Lama project…”

Additionally, “Barrick expects to meet with some of its largest shareholders Feb. 4 to discuss corporate governance changes and any of their concerns. The company has nominated four new independent directors and said its founder and chairman Peter Munk will retire at Barrick’s upcoming annual shareholder meeting in the spring (late April according to news reports).”

“Pascua Lama is expected to produce around 850,000 ounces of gold and 35 million ounces of silver in its first five years. Production, scheduled to begin this year, has now been delayed until mid-2016.”

Further reading
Maude Barlow speaks on glaciers and the right to water
Argentine bill to protect glaciers challenges Pascua Lama mine
Barrick investors sue Barrick Gold over Pascua Lama mine
Ethics commissioner should release report on PMO’s dealings with Barrick Gold
Sinking the Harper agenda through our mining injustice campaign
Barrick claims to protect the culture of the Diaguita people in Chile’s Huasco Valley