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8/29/18

The Tahoe Resources (TAHO) (THO.to) cyanide spill

The news this afternoon from Tahoe Resources (TAHO) (THO.to) regarding its La Arena gold mine in the La Libertad region of Peru requires some clarification, it seems:

1) It's obviously an attempt at gold theft, which begs the question about site security. They've been there three years, for crying out loud! Don't they have a single clue about running a gold mine?

2) You'll note that in no place does the word "cyanide" appear in the NR. That's obviously a deliberate decision by the company, but it's what this is all about. They do of course use the term "pregnant solution" and that is correct, but the important thing is to understand what that is. The "pregnant solution" from a heap or dump leach is the liquid that's collected from the pads which has captured the gold. You sprinkle dilute sodium cyanide onto the pad, it picks up the gold, the then pregnant solution runs into collecting ponds and is treated to get the gold out. Bottom line---> This is a cyanide spillage and the cyanide "may have" made its way into the local water supply. Which means it did.

3) And what about the size of the spill? The company says it's "600 cubic metres" and if you put it that way, it sounds modest. In fact that is 600,000 litres. Of highly toxic liquid. In the river. Via the company's very own storm management system. Yummy. For context, the cyanide solution spill at the Barrick Veladero mine that caused the closing of the facility, a near $10m fine and prosecutions of ABX management was 1.1m litres, a little under double the size. This is no small event, ladies and gentlemen.