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Barrick Gold Corp.’s Kibali mine on track

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Global Mining Review,

Barrick Gold Corp.’s President and Chief Executive, Mark Bristow, has said that the company’s Kibali mine is on track to deliver at the upper end of its 2020 guidance.

Kibali was the first underground gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one of the largest in the world. It is a global leader in automation and continues to improve efficiency and productivity through ongoing technological innovation. In 3Q20. it set a new ore delivery record from underground, exceeding nameplate for the first time since the shaft was commissioned in 2018.

“Automation is often associated with reduced employment but we use it as an opportunity to further upskill our workers and to reduce our need for expatriate specialists. It is worth noting that Kibali – one of Barrick’s elite corps of Tier One mines – is led by a predominantly Congolese management team in line with our policy of employing and advancing host country nationals,” Bristow said.

A Tier One mine is one capable of producing at least 500 000 oz/y of gold for at least 10 years at the lower end of the industry’s cost profile. Bristow said brownfields exploration was extending Kibali’s life by replacing reserves depleted by mining. Barrick’s exploration teams are also hunting for the next Kibali elsewhere in the DRC.

During 3Q20, battery technology was successfully integrated into the Kibali power grid to augment the mine’s three hydropower stations and offset the cyclical load of the winder. In line with Barrick’s global move to cleaner energy sources, the new technology will further reduce the mine’s carbon footprint and use of thermal power.

Following a recent meeting with President Tshisekedi, Bristow said they had agreed that Kibali had brought a thriving local economy to what was previously one of the most deprived regions in the DRC.

“The continuing paved extension to the Durba road will provide construction work for local contractors for the next 3 years. Community support continues to be reinforced through other initiatives such as the Renzi agribusiness project and the planned palm oil project. We also remain committed to transferring skills to the community, and the upgrading of the Kokiza Training Centre for engineers is scheduled to start later this year,” he added.

Additionally, utility buildings initially built as isolation wards during the Ebola outbreak and subsequently used as a quarantine centre for COVID-19 cases, will now be transitioned to a tropical disease centre to serve local communities.

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