Barrick’s Loulo-Gounkoto exceeds yearly guidance

Barrick’s Loulo-Gounkoto exceeds yearly guidance
Mining News Pro - Barrick Gold Corporation’s Loulo-Gounkoto mine complex, in western Mali, produced 680 215 oz of gold in 2020, exceeding its full-year guidance despite Covid-19 and other challenges.

The underground operations have reached a high quality level of automation, hard on the heels of the group`s pace-setter mine Kibali, says the company.

The two existing underground mines, Yalea and Gara, will shortly be joined by a third when the Gounkoto underground mine delivers its first ore tonnes in the second quarter of this year.

Further, Barrick points out that another major technological advance at Loulo has been the commissioning of the company’s first solar power plant in the Africa and Middle East region, delivering 20 MW of capacity.

Projects scheduled for completion this year include the commissioning of a water treatment plant, the expansion of power generating capacity and an upgrade of powerlines to support the new Gounkoto underground mine.

Meanwhile, the complex continued to support and develop local businesses, spending more than $375-million with local contractors and suppliers in 2020.

Its accelerator programme, designed to equip budding business persons with commercial skills, helped to establish 48 entrepreneurs and granted them credit totalling about $390 000.

Loulo-Gounkoto’s local content programme was further improved by the formation of a transport consortium which incorporates most of its existing Malian transport providers.

In a presentation to local media and stakeholders at Loulo on February 6, Barrick president and CE Mark Bristow said that, as a result of the continuing successful exploration, the complex’s gold reserves were now larger than they had been 15 years ago, and indications were that it would once more have replaced ounces depleted by mining in 2020.

“The Loulo district lies at the heart of one of the world’s most prolific gold regions. Over the past 15 years, this has delivered more world-class discoveries than any other, and our extensive exploration programmes are designed not only to replenish our reserves but to find our next tier one mine,” he said.

Loulo and Gounkoto paid and declared combined dividends of $240-million for 2020.

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