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Successful Barrick partnership keeps gold shining for Mali

3rd July 2023

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer

     

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The 26-year-long partnership between gold miner Barrick Gold Corporation and the State of Mali has built the country’s gold mining industry into a world leader and positioned it strongly for further growth, Barrick president and CE Mark Bristow has said.

In a media release published at the weekend, he added that the Loulo-Gounkoto complex, one of the world’s top ten gold producers, was the largest business in terms of enterprise value in the whole of West Africa. 

Together with the Morila mine, the complex has contributed $9.3-billion to the Malian economy and accounted for between 5% and 10% of the country’s gross domestic product over the past ten years. 

Loulo-Gounkoto is one of Mali’s largest taxpayers and employers, with a workforce of about 7 000, 97% of whom are Malian nationals. Over the life of the complex, the State has received more than 70% of the economic benefits it created.

“We are continuing to invest in the future of Loulo-Gounkoto. Successful exploration is more than replacing the ounces we mine, it is also identifying new growth opportunities with the potential to deliver the next generation of major discoveries in the Loulo region. 

“The new underground mine at Gounkoto – the complex’s third – has developed its first production stopes and the Yalea South cutback is ahead of plan,” Bristow said.

“We foresee that the complex will be a major contributor to the Malian economy for years to come. The achievement of that vision will require the continued commitment to the mutually rewarding partnership, which has brought us this far and delivered sustainable benefits to all stakeholders, including the country’s citizens.”

In line with Barrick’s global policy of local procurement, Malian suppliers accounted for 74% of the complex’s purchases during the first half of this year, amounting to $298-million.

Turning to Loulo-Gounkoto’s operations, Bristow said the complex was continuing to perform strongly and was on track to achieve its production guidance for the full year.

The complex remains tightly focused on the safety of its workers and there were no lost-time injuries again during the past quarter.

Further, as part of Barrick’s transition to renewable energy, the complex is extending its solar power installation and battery storage system by 40 MW. 

The project is already feeding 10 MW into the mines complex’s microgrid and it is expected that the second phase will be commissioned well ahead of the current completion date at the end of 2024.

 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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