Chile mining minister responds to Argentina criticism over Barrick's Pascua-Lama mine

Chile says it will respect the environmental regulator's decision to block work on Barrick Gold's Pascua-Lama mine despite harsh criticism from neighboring Argentina.

The $8.5 billion project straddling the Argentina-Chile border has faced problems including rising costs, falling gold prices and environmental lawsuits by indigenous communities in Chile.

The world's largest gold company announced last October that it would suspend construction of its mine. In May 2013, Chile's environmental regulator blocked work in Pascua-Lama citing "very serious" violations of its work permit.

Argentine Mining Minister Jorge Mayoral lashed out at Chile on Tuesday, telling it to "put on its pants" and reach a decision on the project.

Chilean Mining Minister Aurora Williams responded that her government will respect environmental authorities and said the mine's future is up to the courts.