A number of class action lawsuits have been filed against Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold, alleging the world’s largest gold miner misled shareholders about the fallout of its most recent cyanide spill at the company’s notorious Veladero mine in San Juan Province, Argentina, according to Canada’s Financial Post.
The lawsuits claim the company misled shareholders in public statements it made after a March 2017 rupture of a pipeline carrying a gold-cyanide solution, the third such spill at Veladero in 18 months. Cyanide is used at gold mine sites to separate the metal from the ore.
“Barrick Gold and certain of its senior executive officers made a series of materially false and misleading statements to investors about the Veladero mine and the company’s outlook and expected financial performance,” alleges the latest suit, filed last week by Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP, a US law firm specializing in large class-action litigation.
Barrick has declined to comment on the new lawsuits.
The company appears to have missed deadlines on orders by local authorities to complete improvements — including replacing pipes — that could have prevented the third spill of cyanide solution in 18 months, an Argentine judge told Reuters earlier this month.
Cyanide accidents at the Veladero mine also occurred in September 2016 and September 2015 when, in Argentina’s worst-ever mining leak, a valve failure in a pipe carrying cyanide at the mine led to over a million liters of cyanide solution spilling into the Potrerillos River.