The Tanzania gold mines of Barrick Gold have been successfully revived, with North Mara delivering significant improvements and underground production starting at Bulyanhulu, the Canadian major reported on Thursday.
Barrick Gold assumed control of the operations of the former Acacia Mining in September 2019 and is now managing the mines through the Twiga joint venture with the Tanzania government.
“These mines are now very different businesses,” Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow said in a statement.
“North Mara’s life-of-mine production profile has been vastly improved and implementation of its comprehensive water management plan is on track.
“Bulyanhulu’s resurrection was a particularly exceptional achievement, considering that both its shaft and plant had to be refurbished extensively. The new mine plan is designed to deliver a long-term value-driven operation,” Bristow said.
Barrick plans to make the combined North Mara and Bulyanhulu mines its seventh tier-one asset by bringing them into the lower half of the industry’s cost curve.
North Mara posted a record throughput in the fourth quarter and Bulyanhulu recommenced processing of underground ore during the quarter. Bulyanhulu is scheduled to be in full production when its ramp-up is completed, expected during the first half of 2021.
Meanwhile, Barrick is continuing to work on improving relations with host communities.
“Past grievances have been resolved and the remaining land legacy issues are being addressed. Fully functional community development committees have been established to focus on education, health, water and agribusiness, and 21 agribusiness groups from 11 villages are already being supported at North Mara. Barrick also proved its value as a partner through its tangible support for the government’s pandemic containment campaign.”
During 2020, Barrick invested $800-million in the Tanzanian economy in the form of taxes, permits, infrastructure development, salaries and payments to local suppliers.
In line with its groupwide policy of employing host country nationals, the company continued to recruit locally, with more than 600 new workers employed during the year at Bulyanhulu alone. Tanzanian nationals now make up 96% of the mines’ total workforce.