Local May 6, 2013 | 4:16 pm

Barrick Gold defends operation as Dominican Republic retains shipment

Santo Domingo.-Barrick Gold Corp. on Monday defended its operations in Dominican Republic whileCustoms retains a shipment amid the months-long standoff with the government over profits fromthe mine at Pueblo Viejo (northeast).

Customs has heldthe Canadian miner’s latest shipment of around 1,264 kilos of gold since May 1,claiming "constant irregularities" in shipping documents, denied byBarrick in a statement that "all documentation for shipments made to datehas been inspected and approved," by the Customs office.

Barrick Goldsaid it didn’t know why the cargo was being held since last week because, it affirms,hasn’t received notice of violations or fines by Customs thus far.

It saidwhenever Customs "notifies us of a change in export procedures, weproceeded to adopt them."

The Canadiancompany has shipped 27 loads of doré thus far, but noted that only two have had"problems" Barrick says stem from limitations of Customs own IntegratedManagement System (SIGA)."

Barrick Goldsays "in all" aspects of their operations in the country, it “fullypursues compliance with all laws and regulations established by the nationalauthorities and we expect that normalization procedures continue to export, ashas been done with the 27 previous shipments, all authorized by Customs."

Barrick’sgold mine near the city of Cotui is among the world’s largest, and whose millionsworth of gold shipments have been held since March for alleged customs violations,just weeks after president Danilo Medina issued a deadline to renegotiate thecontract he called detrimental to national interests.

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