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Barrick’s Mali trebling solar as renewables stave off high energy prices at Kibali

Barrick second-quarter results covered by Mining Weekly’s Martin Creamer. Video: Darlene Creamer.

9th August 2022

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The African regions are continuing to excel on all fronts for Barrick, the large gold/copper miner that is benefitting from a stand-out performance in Tanzania and finding exploration in Mali and Senegal “a gift that keeps giving”, and which is being received with open arms in Pakistan.

Under the highly experienced leadership of Barrick’s South African-born CEO Dr Mark Bristow, Tanzania’s Bulyanhulu and North Mara mines have been completely redesigned and re-engineered into new mines. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

The combined-complex now has tier-one potential ­after being at a virtual standstill when Barrick took over their management three years ago.

Bulyanhulu now has a 20-year-plus life and ramped-up North Mara is showing significant new opportunity.

In Mali, where Mining Weekly can recall the community ululating enthusiastically in honour of Bristow’s huge wealth-creation success in the region, the Loulo-Gounkoto that his discovery-and-development philosophy elevated from nothing, has once again put in its customary strong performance, despite being heavily exposed to higher fuel prices.

Importantly, Loulo-Gounkoto is on the way to trebling its solar power capacity to improve its energy source profile as well as decarbonise.

On the exploration front, the Loulo district, Mali, and across the river in Senegal “is the gift that keeps giving”, Bristow told Barrick’s dividend-yielding second-quarter results presentation, during which Bristow provided impressive future-forward responses to analyst questions.

Brownfield exploration is poised to replace Loulo-Gounkoto’s depleted ounces this year and across the border in Senegal, Barrick’s Bambadji and Bena permits host multiple targets that have stand-alone potential.

In Central Africa, Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo boosted quarter-two production to remain on track to achieve guidance, despite mill maintenance taking place in quarter one and shaft winder replacement coming up in quarter four.

Kibali is Barrick’s leader in renewable energy owing to its three hydropower stations, which are shielding it from the full effect of higher fuel prices ­– and, again, exploration is continuing to replenish the reserve base and raise new discovery possibilities.

At the halfway mark of the year, Barrick’s performance and prospects continue to show the steady progress it envisaged at the time of the strategic merger with Newmont, when the trajectory was radically changed and it started the journey towards a future-forward business.

On the copper front, Barrick’s Lumwana copper mine in Zambia increased its second-quarter production by 32% on higher grade ore and improved mill availability, Jabal Sayid in Saudi Arabia produced its first Saudi GM in line with Barrick’s policy of recruiting host-country nations, and Zaldivar in Chile was consistent.

Barrick has built a team and a structure capable of dealing with a range of global economic, social, and political challenges that are getting increasingly complex.

Its exploration teams continue to replenish depleted reserves.

It has expanded its footprint across nearly all the world’s gold and copper regions, with the Latin American region highly prospective for copper and gold discoveries, and Pakistan’s Reko Diq one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper deposits that has been on hold since 2011.

The Pakistan government has received Barrick “with great enthusiasm”, with the current Reko Diq conceptual mine plan based on four porphyry deposits within the Reko Diq project area.

The Tethyan Belt, in which Reko Diq is located, is described as being a highly prospective tectono-magmatic and metallogenic belt extending from Eastern Europe to South East Asia.

The project area has 14 separate Miocene age porphyry intrusions that provide long-term upside potential, and Reko Diq is expected to have a life of at least 40 years.

On every front, Barrick is closing in on its goal to become a valued mining company.

Its earnings were ahead of consensus and its quarterly dividend was again maintained this time around.

The group is set for stronger overall second-half copper performance as it sits on net cash of $636-million.

Sustainability remains the key focus of every aspect of its business.

To support its drive to net zero, it has quantified its Scope 3 emissions produced by its value chain to get a full picture of its carbon footprint.

This exercise has shown that Scope 3 emissions from its tier-one assets account for 40% of the group’s total greenhouse-gas emissions, mainly from purchased goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy use and transport and distribution.

“We are now engaging with all our suppliers to help them set and achieve their own reduction targets,” Bristow told the results presentation covered by Mining Weekly.

Second-quarter carbon emissions were maintained at the first-quarter level and water use efficiency was at 83%.

Year to date, it has spent close to $12.5-million on social development.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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