The government of San Juan province in Argentina has temporarily suspended operations at Barrick Gold’s Veladero mine following a spillage of processing solution from leach pads.

Further inspections of the mine's heap leach area are being carried out and the company is working with provincial authorities to confirm safety of the facility.

The incident occurred when a pipe carrying process solution in the heap leach area was damaged after it was hit by a large block of ice that rolled down from the heap leach valley slope.

"No solution from the damaged pipe reached any water diversion channels or watercourses."

A small quantity of solution left the leach pad, but no solution from the damaged pipe reached any water diversion channels or watercourses.

Authorities said it did not cause any threat to the health of employees, communities, or environment.

Barrick Gold said it has treated the impacted area in the leach valley and increased environmental monitoring of surface and sub-surface water.

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Veladero is a conventional open-pit operation located at elevations of 4,000m to 4,850m above sea level, 374km north-west of San Juan.

Ore at this mine is crushed by a two-stage crushing process and transported through overland conveyor and trucks to the leach pad area.