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  • A gold processing plant under construction in Argentina, at Barrick Gold

    A gold processing plant under construction in Argentina, at Barrick Gold's Pascua-Lama mine site is pictured in this Feb. 2, 2012. | Photo: Reuters

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The gold miner has a dubious human rights and environmental record. 

Barrick Gold Corp, the world's largest gold miner, said Monday it would spend a total of about $2 billion on projects in Nevada and Peru for construction starting 2019.

Barrick said it planned to spend $1 billion as initial capital investment on the Goldrush project in Nevada, with construction expected to start in 2020.

The project is expected to produce 440,000 ounces of gold a year, with all-in sustaining costs of $665 per ounce.

Barrick will also spend $640 million to extend the life of the Lagunas Norte project in Peru by about nine years.

The Toronto-based miner will also spend $300 million to $325 million at its Turquoise Ridge mine in Nevada to boost production, and another $153 million on the Cortez project in the state, where construction will start in 2019-2020.

The company said on Monday it expected to maintain annual production of at least 4.5 million ounces of gold through 2020.

The gold miner, and its numerous subsidiaries, have dubious human rights and environmental records. At its North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania employees told watchdog, MiningWatch, that site security and police guards used excessive force towards miners. Victims and their families relayed stories of gang rape, severe beatings with batons and other weapons. Staff also said gunfire was used to intimidate workers.

Aside from violence toward employees and their family members watchdogs also discovered that victims were forced to sign contracts that relinquished their right to take legal action against Barrick Gold and its subsidiaries.

While the Canadian company admitted last September to leaking 15,000 liters of cyanide into a local river from its Veladero mine located in the western province of San Juan.

Barrick, which has one of the highest debt loads of any gold miner, has been selling its non-core assets and had cut debt by $3 billion last year.

The miner had outstanding debt of about $9.77 billion as of Dec. 31.

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