Dec. 4, 2009 (Marketwire Canada) -- TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 4, 2009) -
All amounts expressed in US dollars
Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:ABX)(TSX:ABX) announced that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit released an opinion on December 3, 2009, with respect to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of Barrick's Cortez Hills project in Nevada. The Appeals Court ruled that the order of the District Court denying preliminary injunctive relief and permitting construction of the project is affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Company is currently evaluating the decision and considering its legal options.
The plaintiffs have previously dismissed their Religious Freedom Restoration Act claims, leaving only claims under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and challenges to the federal government's Environmental Impact Statement process. The Appeals Court affirmed the District Court findings in favor of Barrick with respect to FLPMA, agreeing that the plaintiffs have not established a likelihood of success on the merits. However, it also ruled against the government on certain issues associated with the adequacy of its environmental analysis of the project, and directed that the District Court consider appropriate injunctive relief while additional environmental analysis is conducted by BLM on three matters: transportation and treatment of refractory ore, mine dewatering mitigation plans, and particulate emissions. Barrick will co-operate with the BLM to ensure the analysis is redone in the form required by the Appeals Court decision as soon as possible.
The $500 million Cortez Hills Mine has recently begun production of ore from the open pit and initiated a ramp up of the underground operation, which has been in production since early 2009. The Company is evaluating its legal alternatives. It is premature to predict the extent of any potential injunction impact on the timing and completion of construction of Cortez Hills, which is now largely complete. The District Court will have to determine the extent to which any action, including any suspension of operations, may be required to respond to the decision of the Court of Appeals.
BLM approved Barrick's plans for the project in November 2008, after several years of detailed study and extensive public consultation and review. Attorneys representing two activist groups and two Western Shoshone tribes appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals following a January 2009 District Court ruling in favor of the BLM and Barrick.
Barrick's vision is to be the world's best gold company by finding, acquiring, developing and producing quality reserves in a safe, profitable and socially responsible manner.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
Certain information contained in this presentation, including any information as to our strategy, projects, plans or future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future performance, constitute "forward-looking statements". All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. The words "believe", "expect", "will", "anticipate", "contemplate", "target", "plan", "continue", "budget", "may", "intend", "estimate" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. The Company cautions the reader that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual financial results, performance or achievements of Barrick to be materially different from the Company's estimated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements and the forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to: changes in the worldwide price of gold, copper or certain other commodities (such as silver, fuel and electricity); legislative, political or economic developments in the United States; operating or technical difficulties in connection with mining or development activities; employee relations; availability and costs associated with mining inputs and labor; the speculative nature of exploration and development, including the risks of obtaining necessary licenses and permits and diminishing quantities or grades of reserves; the risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business. Certain of these factors are discussed in greater detail in the Company's most recent Form 40-F/Annual Information Form on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities.
The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.