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File photo of engineers and technicians of Barrick Gold at the Pueblo Viejo mining area in Los Cacaos, Dominican Republic.

Ramon Espinosa/AP

Barrick Gold Corp. has achieved first gold production at Pueblo Viejo, the $3.8-billion gold mine in the Dominican Republic that is one of the pillars of production growth for the world's largest gold miner.

Toronto-based Barrick, which has faced project delays and cost overruns at other operations, said on Tuesday the Pueblo Viejo mine is on schedule and within costs and will ramp up toward commercial production for the fourth quarter.

Pueblo Viejo will produce more than one million ounces of gold per year, one of the few new mines of that size in a world where world-class deposits are increasingly scarce.

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Barrick owns 60 per cent of the mine and will take home 625,000 ounces to 675,000 ounces of production per year in its first five years of operation. Goldcorp Inc., Canada's second-largest gold producer, owns the remaining 40 per cent.

In what's left of this year, Barrick expects to take as much as 125,000 ounces of gold production from Pueblo Viejo at costs of between $400 and $500 (U.S.) per ounce, compared to spot gold prices of about $1,600 an ounce.

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