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CHILE
Barrick contract cancelled
Latinamerica Press
7/13/2006
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Canadian mining company Barrick Gold’s purchase of 8,600 hectares (21,000 acres) in northern Chile for the Pascua Lama project was voided June 21 by a Chilean court.

After five years of lawsuits, Judge María Isabel Reyez Kokisch, of the Santiago Civil Court, voided the purchase contract in which miner Rodolfo Villar García sold his land to Barrick Gold for 10,000 pesos (US$20). This transaction permitted the exploitation of the Pascua Lama deposit, located in Chile’s Atacama region, near its border with Argentina.

Lawyer Hernán Montealegre told the Chilean magazine Area Minera that the deal was voided because the sum Barrick paid Villar was "ridiculous" and the miner gained nothing from the deal.

Environmental groups complained that the mining project would affect the glaciers that sustain the high altitude ecosystem and provide water to 70,000 farmers in the Huasco valley, an important agricultural zone for vegetables and fruits, especially grapes. Barrick said it will appeal the ruling.


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