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Barrick looks to enlarge Loulo

Barrick Gold is considering further enlarging its 80%-owned Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex in Mali.
Barrick looks to enlarge Loulo Barrick looks to enlarge Loulo Barrick looks to enlarge Loulo Barrick looks to enlarge Loulo Barrick looks to enlarge Loulo

Underground at Barrick Gold’s majority-owned Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali

Staff reporter

President and CEO Mark Bristow, on site yesterday, said the complex's third underground mine had reached its first mining level and was scheduled to start delivering ore tonnes to the plant during the current quarter.

The company also said it had started a prefeasibility study on two more mines on the Loulo permit - an underground operation at Loulo 3 and a large openpit at Yalea South.

These would add mining sources and improve feed flexibility, providing further support for the complex's robust 10-year plan, Bristow said.

He also said exploration programmes designed to replace depleted reserves were continuing to deliver good results.

Bristow noted Barrick and its legacy company Randgold Resources had contributed US$7.7 billion to Mali's economy over the past 24 years.

"Our long partnership with the country and its people is a testament to how mutually beneficial a relationship of this kind can be," Bristow said.

In an update on illegal mining, Barrick said in the accompanying presentation there was engagement with local and national authorities to clear illegal miners.

Loulo-Gounkoto had 5,539 employees and had been "largely unaffected" by the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrick said.

It said the complex was on track to produce 640,000-700,000 ounces of gold on a 100% basis this year.

It had produced 680,215oz in 2020, "exceeding its full year guidance despite COVID-19 and other challenges".

The country had experienced a military coup in August although Barrick said at the time its operations had not been affected.

Barrick shares closed down 2.4% in Toronto yesterday to C$26.79, towards the lower end of a one-year range of $23.63-$41.09, valuing it about $48 billion (US$39 billion).