The Kibali mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), exceeded its 2019 production guidance of 750 000 oz of gold by a substantial margin, delivering 814 027 oz in a record year, Canadian gold miner Barrick Gold has reported.
CEO Mark Bristow, who was in Kinshasa on Monday, said that the 45%-owned Kibali’s performance demonstrated how a modern, tier-one gold mine could be developed and operated successfully in what is one of the world’s most remote regions, where infrastructure was under-endowed.
Already one of the world’s most highly automated underground gold mines, Kibali continued its technological advance with the introduction of truck and drill training simulators and the integration of systems for personnel safety tracking and ventilation demand control.
The simulators would also be used to train operators from Barrick’s Tanzanian mines, which last week were given a new breath of life with a “historical” agreement between the company and that country’s government.
“The completion of the Kalimva Ikamva prefeasibility study has delivered another viable opencast project, which will help balance Kibali’s opencast/underground ore ratio and enhance the flexibility of the mine plan. Down-plunge extension drilling at Gorumbwa has highlighted future underground potential and ongoing conversion drilling at KCD is delivering reserve replenishment.
“All in all, Kibali is well on track not only to meet its ten-year production targets, but to extend them beyond this horizon,” Bristow said.
Barrick is also developing a grid stabiliser project at Kibali, which is scheduled for completion in the second quarter.
“The project uses new battery technology to offset the need for running diesel generators as a spinning reserve and ensures we maximise the use of renewable hydro power. The installation of three new elution diesel heaters will also help improve efficiencies and control power costs,” said Bristow.
Kibali is managed by a majority Congolese team, supported by a corps of majority Congolese supervisors and personnel.
Kibali is a joint venture between Barrick (45%), AngloGold Ashanti (45%) and Société Miniére de Kilo-Moto (10%). Barrick is the operator and gained ownership of the mine through the acquisition of Randgold Resources in January 2019.