Barrick Gold Corporation’s Loulo-Gounkoto complex remains on track to meet the upper end of its 2020 guidance in the face of multiple challenges, including a military coup in Mali.
Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow attributes this performance to the company’s long-established relationships with partners in Mali and its philosophy of sharing the benefits it creates with its local stakeholders.
Over the past 24 years, Barrick and its legacy company Randgold Resources have contributed $7.4 billion to the Malian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, salaries, and payments to local suppliers.
So far this year Loulo-Gounkoto has spent $275 million with local contractors and suppliers.
The development of the complex’s third underground mine at Gounkoto is on track to deliver its first ore tonnes in the second quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, Barrick’s first solar power plant has been commissioned and is ramping up to deliver 20 MW into the microgrid, in line with the company’s strategy of transitioning to cleaner forms of energy.
The complex has paid dividends totalling $160 million in the year to date with Loulo paying a maiden dividend in the quarter on the back of the mine’s convention amendment.
Barrick has agreed to sell its other operation in Mali, Morila, to Mali Lithium with the government retaining its 20% stake.
Morila was the mine which laid the foundation for Randgold’s success, producing almost 7 Moz of gold over its life. Bristow said the transaction created the opportunity for Morila’s infrastructure and assets to be redeployed for the benefit of its employees, surrounding communities and the country.
“We’ve always had great confidence in Mali and its people, hence our continuing commitment to the country. It is gratifying to note that Mali is dealing with its political challenges and has already returned to a civilian-led transitional government. We look forward to being part of its future,” Bristow said.