September 30, 2016 / 1:20 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-Argentina judge rules Barrick mine to remain suspended

(Adds comments from Barrick)

BUENOS AIRES/TORONTO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A judge in Argentina ruled that Barrick Gold Corp’s operations at its Veladero mine would remain suspended, saying repairs were insufficient to reopen it after a leak of processing solution containing cyanide earlier this month.

Judge Pablo Oritja’s decision was based on a report from mining police in San Juan province that found Barrick had not installed security cameras and sensors as required, state news agency Telam said on Friday.

A spokesman for the province said Oritja had extended the temporary suspension of operations on Thursday until Barrick completes additional work at Veladero, one of its five core mines.

Barrick President Kelvin Dushnisky told Reuters on Sept. 19 that he thought the mine could start operating again in two weeks.

Toronto-based Barrick said on Friday that it had completed “critical” work required by authorities for the resumption of operations and was awaiting a final resolution of the matter.

The world’s largest gold producer by output, Barrick does not expect the suspension to cause it to miss its 2016 consolidated production forecast, said spokesman Andy Lloyd.

Barrick said provincial regulators ordered work in seven areas, including maintenance of the exterior perimeter of the leach pad liner and raising the exterior berm, or bank, over which the processing solution flowed.

The company gave no estimate of the costs of the work or suspension. It will finalize them once the mine is back in operation, Lloyd said.

Telam said Oritja would go on vacation on Friday, meaning another judge could handle the case.

Barrick has not said how much processing solution was spilled. Tests by United Nations investigators in October showed the year-earlier spill had not contaminated local water supplies.

The company announced the spill on Sept. 15. The province had fined Barrick nearly $10 million for a September 2015 leak. (Reporting by Hernan Nessi, Maximilian Heath and Caroline Stauffer in Buenos Aires and Susan Taylor in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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