Barrick has plans to complete a feasibility study on the expansion project of its Pueblo Viejo gold mine in Dominican Republic by the end of 2020.

This programme includes expansion of the processing plant and tailings capacity. It is estimated that the initial investment for this programme will be over $1bn.

This investment will be able to extend the life of the mine beyond 2030s.

The  investment is expected to more than double the contribution that the mine has already made financially to the Dominican Republic.

The mine is managed by Barrick in a joint venture with Newmont Goldcorp.

Barrick Gold Corporation president and chief executive officer Mark Bristow said: “The proposed investment was further evidence of the joint venture partners’ long-term commitment to the social and economic development of the Dominican Republic.

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“We look forward to continue making a significant and growing contribution to our communities and other stakeholders and to unlocking the enormous value of its mineral potential while addressing the historical third-party environmental issues.”

The joint venture partners had already invested nearly $5.2bn in Pueblo Viejo, representing almost 20% of the total foreign direct investment in the Dominican Republic over the past 10 years.

More than $1.6bn was paid in direct cash taxes, which represents 57% of the cash distributions when compared with 43% earned by the two companies.

“We look forward to continue making a significant and growing contribution to our communities and other stakeholders.”

Since 2013, the mine has accounted for nearly 30% of the country’s exports, generating more than $5.7bn in revenue and a total net added value of $8.5bn, which is equal to 2% of the Dominican GDP.

Bristow added: “Some 96% of the mine’s employees are Dominicans and this has also had a significant impact on the lives of the more than 90,000 people in neighboring communities who have benefited from its community upliftment programs.

“It has also promoted the development of the local economy, spending more than $123 million with local contractors and suppliers over the past six years.”