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Barrick Gold begins Golden Sunlight’s tailings reprocessing project

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Global Mining Review,

The pioneering tailings reprocessing project at Barrick’s end-of-life Golden Sunlight Mine was officially opened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Montana Governor, Gianforte, Barrick President and Chief Executive, Mark Bristow, representatives of the Montana federal congressional delegation and members of the community.

The opening of the facility is the culmination of more than a year’s work that has already created more than 75 jobs. It has the potential to generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and benefits for the state over the next decade, while removing a source of possible water pollution from the mine site.

The facility will reprocess the ground rock, known as tailings, from which gold was previously extracted in the Golden Sunlight mills. The focus will be on removing and concentrating sulfur (iron pyrite) to be sold to and used in gold production by Barrick operated and majority owned Nevada Gold Mines, the largest gold producing complex in the world. The concentrated sulfur is not only valuable, but its removal will also eliminate a source of potential groundwater contamination. After reprocessing, the remaining benign material will be backfilled into the Mineral Hill pit.

Speaking at the ceremony, Bristow said the project, which combined rehabilitation with value creation, would serve as a model for Barrick’s future mine closures.

“Last year, we started this ground-breaking plan to initiate mining closure at Golden Sunlight while continuing to create economic benefits. Working in close collaboration with state agencies, we were able to complete the permitting process in time and commission the tailings processing facility, creating value for all our stakeholders. It’s a great example of what a true partnership between a miner and its host communities can accomplish. We look forward to shipping the first concentrates within weeks,” Bristow said.

Governor Gianforte added: “This project is an example of what’s possible when state agencies provide a stable, predictable regulatory process that companies like Barrick can rely on. We’re thrilled by Barrick’s investment in the Whitehall community and look forward to the benefits this project will bring, including more than 75 good-paying Montana jobs and a stronger, cleaner environment.”

The Golden Sunlight mine produced more than 3 million oz of gold during its nearly 40 years of operation. The mine shut down in 2019, when gold production was no longer economically viable.

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