The Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex is set to remain a major contributor to the Malian economy well into the future as it continues to replace the ore depleted by mining, says Barrick president and chief executive, Mark Bristow.
Mines operated in Mali by Barrick and its predecessor Randgold have spent some $8 billion in the country in the form of taxes, royalties, salaries and payments to local suppliers over the past 24 years.
To date this year, it has paid $318 million to the government in taxes, royalties and dividends and invested more than $13 million in community wellbeing projects ranging from health and education to economic development initiatives such as its Business Accelerator program, designed to equip budding entrepreneurs with management skills.
Speaking at a media briefing, Bristow said Loulo-Gounkoto was on track to meet its annual production guidance, with its new underground mine at Gounkoto — the complex’s third underground operation — ramping up production. Through successful exploration it is on track to increase mineral reserves net of depletion for the third successive year and promising results from the Yalea Ridge and Gounkoto-Faraba targets reaffirm the potential for further life-of-mine extensions.
“Loulo-Gounkoto is one of the world’s greatest gold mining operations and it continues to confirm its status as a member of the industry’s elite Tier One club as well as the largest private sector contributor to Mali’s GDP,” Bristow said.
“In addition to the enormous value it creates for its stakeholders, Loulo-Gounkoto also aspires to a high level of social responsibility. Almost 40% of employees have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and 335 people have been vaccinated in the surrounding community.
“Security staff and other employees who come into contact with the community have undergone rigorous training in human rights. Work is also under way to secure the new certification standardized by the International Cyanide Management Institute.”
Loulo-Gounkoto is maintaining its commitment to the employment and advancement of host country nationals, in line with Barrick’s global policy, and people from the nearby Kenieba village have been successfully trained to operate key equipment at the new Gounkoto underground mine. The complex is almost entirely staffed and managed by Malian citizens.