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Chile blocks Pascua-Lama mine, fines Barrick $16 million for serious environmental violations.

Chile's environmental regulator has stopped construction and imposed sanctions on Barrick Gold Corp.'s $8.5 billion Pascua-Lama project, citing "serious violations" of its environmental permit.

The $16 million fine is the maximum allowable under Chilean law. It was applied Friday because the world's largest gold mining company acknowledged that it failed to keep its promises to build systems for containing contaminated water.