Dual-listed Barrick Gold’s Loulo-Gounkoto complex remains on track to meet the upper end of its 2020 guidance in the face of multiple challenges, including that of a military coup in Mali, the gold major confirmed on October 27.
Barrick president and CE Mark Bristow attributed this performance to the company’s long-established relationships with its partners in Mali and its philosophy of sharing the benefits it creates with local stakeholders.
Over the past 24 years, Barrick and its legacy company Randgold Resources have contributed $7.4-billion to the Malian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, salaries and payments to local suppliers, Bristow said, noting that, so far this year, Loulo-Gounkoto has spent $275-million with local contractors and suppliers.
The development of the complex’s third underground mine at Gounkoto is on track to deliver its first ore tonnes in the second quarter of 2021.
A solar power plant for Barrick has also been commissioned and is ramping up to deliver 20 MW into the microgrid, which is in line with the Canada-based company’s strategy of transitioning to cleaner forms of energy.
Further, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex has paid dividends of $160-million in the year to date, with Loulo paying a maiden dividend in the quarter on the back of the mine’s convention amendment.
Additionally, Barrick has agreed to sell its other operation in Mali – Morila – to Mali Lithium with the government retaining its 20% stake.
Morila was the mine which laid the foundation for Randgold’s success, producing almost seven-million ounces of gold over its life.
Bristow said the transaction created the opportunity for Morila’s infrastructure and assets to be redeployed for the benefit of its employees, surrounding communities and the country.
“We’ve always had great confidence in Mali and its people, hence our continuing commitment to the country. It’s gratifying to note that Mali is dealing with its political challenges and has already returned to a civilian-led transitional government. We look forward to being part of its future,” Bristow said.