Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX)(NYSE: GOLD) announced that the development of a third underground mine at the Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali is on track to start ore production from stoping in the second quarter of this year.
In late 2021, Gounkoto’s third underground mine ramped up production, while an increase in mineral reserves net of depletion was underway through successful exploration.
Talking to local media on Sunday, Barrick’s president and chief executive Mark Bristow said that key geological structures within the Loulo district have indicated the potential for further discoveries.
The goal is to extend the mine’s life beyond 2037.
Bristow also said that in 2022, the giant, 17-year-old mine solidified its long-term outlook and maintained its historically consistent performance by meeting its production guidance of 510,000 – 560,000 ounces.
According to the executive, last year, the complex contributed $260 million directly to the Malian economy in the form of dividends, royalties and taxes. Indirect contributions, including payments of salaries and to suppliers, totalled $570 million.
“We continue to promote and develop our local partnerships, creating and contracting an all-Malian joint venture to mine the new Gara West open pit and engaging a Malian contractor to work with an international mining company on the pushback of the new Yalea pit,” Bristow said. “It’s worth noting that our strong partnership network has been a significant factor in enabling Loulo-Gounkoto to maintain an exemplary performance in the face of the many challenges recently experienced by Mali.”
Barrick’s CEO pointed out that one of such challenges implies making their operations environmentally friendlier. One of the actions the company is taking towards such a goal is expanding Loulo-Gounkoto’s solar power plant by 40MW, targeting an annual CO2-e saving of more than 62kt. Since its commissioning in August 2020, the plant has cut emissions by 57kt.