Gold and copper miner Barrick Gold’s two gold mines in Tanzania – North Mara and Bulyanhulu – lifted their combined output to 547 000 oz in 2022, achieving another step towards their potential Tier One status in the group’s asset portfolio as a combined complex.
In addition, Barrick reports that exploration is continuing to deliver opportunities to grow the mineral reserves net of depletion at both mines.
Barrick president and CE Mark Bristow says that since the company took over control of the mines in 2019, it has completely transformed what were effectively dead or dying operations into valuable assets in terms of their current performance, their future prospects and their social licence.
North Mara’s transition to owner-mining is successfully delivering on the ramping up of an ongoing openpit expansion, with improved efficiencies and costs, while technological advances in the underground operation are increasing productivity.
At this mine, Barrick says, the restart of mining at the Gena pit is on track, while at Bulyanhulu, the main focus is on ramping up the development of declines to access the new Deep West mineral reserves and defining further exploration potential in Reef 2.
“Today [North Mara and Bulyanhulu] are recognised by both the government and communities as socially responsible businesses creating and sharing enormous benefits for all their stakeholders, and as a key partner in Tanzania’s socioeconomic development,” Bristow says.
In 2022, Bristow says, North Mara was officially recognised as Tanzania’s largest taxpayer and Bulyanhulu was awarded the Best Compliant Employer prize by the National Social Security Fund.
Since the take-over in 2019, Barrick has contributed $2.4-billion into the Tanzanian economy. In 2022, it paid $303-million in taxes, royalties, levies, dividends and shareholder loan repayments and $476-million to local suppliers.
“North Mara and Bulyanhulu also received the first and second runner-up recognition awards, respectively, for the export of minerals and the generation of foreign currency. They have both come a very long way and we look forward to continuing that journey through our Twiga partnership with the government,” he says.
As the mines have grown, Barrick has continued to prioritise local employment at the sites, with current levels comprising 96% local citizens. Forty-five per cent of new hires are drawn from the surrounding communities.
Through their community development committees, the mines have invested more than $10-million in projects to improve healthcare, education, access to potable water and the road infrastructure.