(New throughout, adds spokesman comment, production forecast,
details of spill, previous accident)
By Susan Taylor
TORONTO, Sept 15 Barrick Gold Corp said
on Thursday that operations at its Veladero mine in Argentina
were temporarily suspended by the government after a "small
quantity" of processing solution that contains cyanide leaked
outside a processing area.
The solution flowed over a berm surrounding the leach pad
where gold is processed after a pipe was damaged on Sept. 8 by a
large block of ice that rolled down a valley slope, Barrick
The affected ground and other material was collected and
returned to the pad, said Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd. "We are
working with authorities to confirm the volume estimate," he
There is no material impact expected on the mine's
operational forecast, Barrick said in a statement. The
Toronto-based company has forecast annual output of
580,000-640,000 ounces of gold.
Barrick said it will start work on Thursday with authorities
from San Juan province to confirm the facility's safety.
No solution from the pipe reached any water diversion
channels or water courses, and the impacted area has been
remediated, the company said. The incident posed no threat to
the health of workers, communities or the environment, it added.
Last year, Barrick was forced to temporarily stop pumping
cyanide solution used in the leaching process at Veladero after
a spill in September. Tests later showed that the spill, caused
by a defective valve, did not contaminate local water supplies.
(Additional reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by
Shounak Dasgupta and Jeffrey Benkoe)