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Barrick Suffering Big Setbacks In Latin America

Barrick spokesman Jorge Esteva said the companies are open to discussions, but the current deal took 27 months of talks before it was approved by the country's congress and former president.

Chile, the world's No. 1 copper producer, has among the region's most stable ground rules for mining, an industry the country relies on for most of its economy.

But even here, mining and energy projects have been delayed as environmentalists go to court demanding tougher protections for nearby populations and natural resources.

"This is part of the adaption to the new social and environmental conditions of Chile and companies will have to face this. If not, there will be no more mining projects," said Gustavo Lagos, mining professor at Universidad Catolica.

"There's much more opposition to Pascua-Lama than any other mining project in Chile. Barrick will have to solve this mess because the mine is really important to the company and it has already invested a lot of money."

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Associated Press writers Michael Warren and Debora Rey in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Ezequiel Lopez Blanco in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, contributed to this report.

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Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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