* Says operations to proceed at Cortez Hills
* Additional environmental assessment to proceed in tandem
(Adds details on production outlook, background)
TORONTO, April 14 Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) said on
Wednesday that a U.S. district court has ruled it can
continue mining operations at its Cortez Hills gold mine in
Nevada while additional environmental assessments on the
In December, Barrick's shares tumbled after a U.S. appeals
court ruled that the project -- which has faced opposition from
local native Indian leaders and environmental groups --
requires additional environmental analysis by the U.S. Bureau
of Land Management. [ID:nN04153811]
The appeals court directed the District Court of Nevada to
issue an injunction that could either halt all work at Cortez
Hills, or stop only specific operations at the site.
In January, Barrick asked the district court to issue only
a limited injunction that would allow work at its Cortez Hills
mine in Nevada to continue while the U.S. Bureau of Land
Management completes an additional study of three aspects of
the project. [ID:nN26105041]
"The court has affirmed that the supplemental studies can
be completed by the Bureau of Land Management without halting
our operations," said Greg Land, president of Barrick's North
American operations, in a statement.
The $500 million Cortez Hills mine is an expansion of
Barrick's existing Cortez mine. The expansion is one of the
company's key growth projects, with production from Cortez
Hills expected to begin this year.
Barrick said its combined Cortez operations are expected to
produce about 1.08 million to 1.12 million ounces of gold in
The project is one of three massive mine projects -- Pueblo
Viejo in the Dominican Republic and Pascua Lama on the border
of Chile and Argentina are the others -- that Barrick expects
to boost its production and lower its average cost as they open
over the next few years.
Barrick said it expects its overall 2010 production to be
between 7.6 million to 8 million ounces at total cash costs of
$425 to $455 per ounce.
Shares of Barrick were up 1.1 percent at C$40.85 on the
Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.
(Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway)