Marvel Gold

Barrick Gold Corporation’s Loulo-Gounkoto mine complex delivered production of 680,215 ounces of gold in 2020, exceeding its full year guidance despite COVID-19 and other challenges.

At the same time, it improved its safety performance, reducing its Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate by more than half compared to 2019 and achieving a Lost Time Injury Free year in its underground operations. The complex retained its ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 health, safety and environmental certifications.

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The underground operations have reached a world-class level of automation, hard on the heels of pace-setter Kibali. The two existing underground mines, Yalea and Gara, will shortly be joined by a third when Gounkoto underground delivers its first ore tonnes planned for the second quarter of this year.

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In another major technological advance, Loulo commissioned Barrick’s first solar power plant in the Africa and Middle East region, delivering 20 MW of capacity into the microgrid.

Projects scheduled for completion in 2021 include the commissioning of a water treatment plant, an expansion of power generating capacity and a powerline upgrade to support the new Gounkoto underground mine.

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The complex continued to support and develop local businesses, spending more than $375 million with local contractors and suppliers in 2020. Its accelerator program, designed to equip budding businessmen and women with commercial skills, established 48 entrepreneurs and granted them credit totalling about $390,000.

Loulo-Gounkoto’s local content program was further improved by the formation of a transport consortium which incorporates most of its existing Malian transport providers.

In a presentation to local media and stakeholders Barrick president and chief executive, Mark Bristow, said that thanks to continuing successful exploration, the complex’s gold reserves were now larger than they had been 15 years ago, and indications were that it would once more have replaced ounces depleted by mining in 2020.

“The Loulo district lies at the heart of one of the world’s most prolific gold regions. Over the past 15 years, this has delivered more world-class discoveries than any other, and our extensive exploration programs are designed not only to replenish our reserves but to find our next Tier One3 mine,” he said.

Loulo and Gounkoto paid and declared combined dividends of $240 million for 2020. Over the past almost 24 years, Barrick and its legacy company Randgold Resources contributed $7.7 billion to Mali’s economy in the form of taxes, royalties, salaries and payments to local suppliers. Its annual contribution amounts to between 5% and 10% of the country’s GDP.

Mali’s minister of mines, Lamine Seydou Traore, and a delegation from his department attended Bristow’s presentation and toured the operation with the Barrick team.

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On 1 January 2019 a new Barrick was born out of the merger between Barrick Gold Corporation and Randgold Resources. Shares in the new company trade on the NYSE (GOLD) and the TSX (ABX). The merger has created a sector-leading gold company which owns five of the industry’s Top 10 Tier One gold assets (Cortez and Goldstrike in Nevada, USA (100%); Kibali in DRC (45%); Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali (80%); and Pueblo Viejo in Dominican Republic (60%)) and two with the potential to become Tier One gold assets (Goldrush/Fourmile (100%) and Turquoise Ridge (75%), both in the USA). With mining operations and projects in 15 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Dominican Republic, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, USA, and Zambia, Barrick has the lowest total cash cost position among its senior gold peers and a diversified asset portfolio positioned for growth in many of the world’s most prolific gold districts.