TSX- and NYSE-listed Barrick Gold has announced a $1.5-million support programme to help combat and contain the Covid-19 pandemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The new package includes the supply of critical equipment to the value of $632 000 at the national level, $488 000 at the provincial level and $380 000 at the local level.
Barrick COO for the company’s Africa and Middle East region, Willem Jacobs, says the company believes the current situation “requires a national response from all who have the DRC’s interests at heart”.
As such, Barrick, as a committed partner to the DRC, has structured a detailed Covid-19 support programme for the country, which was communicated to the government at the beginning of the month by Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow.
Barrick DRC country manager Cyrille Mutombo, has met with the Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilumkamba, and informed him that the Kibali mine had put in place measures to ensure continuity of its operations and to protect workers and their families living around the mine.
This programme is being managed by the mine’s own doctors and health workers, who are experienced in dealing with deadly infections such as Ebola.
The Prime Minister previously noted that the DRC had launched a National Solidarity Fund for Covid-19 and said he was “delighted” that Barrick was among the first to respond with such a substantial contribution.
He requested the Health Minister, along with the Covid-19 task team, to work with Kibali to identify priorities on which to focus its contribution.
He said the government would work with the company on the operating challenges it faces.
Kibali has also offered the early payment of taxes, which the government has welcomed, and the company is currently discussing the details with the Ministry of Finance and the tax authorities.