Argentina to consider new plan for Barrick's Veladero mine -province


BUENOS AIRES, April 21 (Reuters) - A new plan for Barrick
Gold Corp's <ABX.TO> Veladero mine in Argentina was to be
presented on Friday after its third incident in 18 months
involving a cyanide spill, the provincial mining minister said
on local radio.
    The minister, Alberto Hensel, said San Juan province had
demanded expansive reforms from Barrick and hoped the sale of 50
percent of the mine to China'sShandong Gold Mining Co
<600547.SS> announced this month would improve its operations.
    Argentine officials told Barrick earlier this month it had
to overhaul environmental and operating processes at the mine
following a March 28 cyanide spill and the country's environment
ministry asked for a suspension of operations. [nL1N1HF0TH]
    "Here we are talking about a new scheme of operation of the
mine from this strategic alliance that is happening," Hensel
told radio station Radio Sarmiento in San Juan on Thursday
    "What we know about Shandong is that it is a company that
has extensive experience meeting the highest environmental
standards, which we believe will contribute to the improvement
of the Veladero mine," he said.
    Barrick Gold did not immediately respond to a request for
    Barrick needs to make improvements in pipelines and in its
control and monitoring systems as well as expand its leach
processing facility, Hensel said.
    "We believe in a kind of relaunch of Veladero based on the
demands that the provincial government has been raising in the
operation," he said.
    The provincial government rejected a first work plan from
Barrick on April 5.
    The province is still evaluating a potential fine for the
company for the March 28 incident. [nL1N1HL0MW]
    Hensel said penalties could surpass the $9.8 million the
company was fined for a 2015 spill. A fine has not yet been
applied for the Sept 2016 incident in which solution containing
cyanide flowed over a berm.
    "There are issues of repetition that have a value from a
legal perspective and could increase the sanction," Hensel said.

 (Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi and; Caroline Stauffer; Editing
by Andrew Hay)
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