Barrick facing new allegations of contamination near Veladero mine in Argentina

Financial Post

The mine has faced criticism related to toxic spills in water dating back to at least 2015 

by Gabriel Friedman, Jun 13, 2022

Toronto-headquartered Barrick Gold Corp. is once again facing accusations that its high-altitude Veladero mine in Argentina is releasing toxins into the local water supply — after similar incidents years ago spurred the country to pass legislation and forced the mine to temporarily close.

Located in the Argentinian Andes, Veladero is operated by Barrick but it is jointly owned on a 50-50 basis with China’s Shandong Gold. The mine has faced criticism related to toxic spills in water dating back to at least 2015.

On Monday, industry watchdog Mining Watch Canada targeted the company in a rally outside the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in downtown Toronto, citing an article in Argentinian media that reported that the levels of mercury, lead, aluminum, manganese, nickel and other contaminants in the water supply near Jachal, a town near Veladero, have reached levels considered dangerous for human consumption.

The article, published in the Spanish language Tierra Viva on June 2, said the level of contaminants in the Rio de Jachal, used for drinking and irrigation, exceeded all previous incidents. The water analysis was conducted by specialists at the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza and cited World Health Organization thresholds and Argentinian food laws for acceptable levels of consumption for each metal.

Barrick Gold did not immediately provide comment on the report.

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