Global Exploration Delivers Substantial Reserve Gains
TORONTO — Barrick Gold Corporation reported that it had completed or progressed major capital projects in the second quarter of the year while its globally broadened exploration programmes delivered substantial reserve gains and stepped up the search for new world-class discoveries.
The new Phase 6 heap leach facility at Veladero has been commissioned on time while the third shaft at Turquoise Ridge in Nevada has been sunk to its final depth. Also in Nevada, the updated Goldrush feasibility study has confirmed that this is a world-class asset which meets Barrick’s investment criteria. In the Dominican Republic, Pueblo Viejo and its stakeholders have agreed on a government-led independent, strategic environmental assessment of Pueblo Viejo’s Mine Life Extension Project, part of a $1.3 billion1 expansion project which is expected to allow Barrick to convert approximately 9 million ounces of measured and indicated resources to proven and probable reserves, extending this Tier One mine’s life to 2040 and beyond. In Mali, Africa, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex’s third underground mine has delivered its first ore.
The success of ongoing brownfields exploration indicates that the North America and Africa & Middle East regions will both more than replace reserves after mining depletion this year. Greenfields programs are targeting new discoveries across the Barrick portfolio, which has been extended to include Egypt, Guyana, Japan, Senegal and Tanzania. Production for the second quarter of 2021 was impacted by mill difficulties at Carlin, Nevada, but Barrick remains on course to achieve its guidance for the year.
Total initial capital is expected to be slightly lower versus the previous study’s estimate of around $1 billion at Goldrush in Nevada. The feasibility study is expected to support the conversion of reserves in the new year and reflects the Plan of Operations submitted as part of the permitting process, and for which the US Bureau of Land Management’s Notice of Intent is expected to be published imminently in the federal register. The Record of Decision is now expected in Q4 2022.
“There remains an enormous potential for future improvement in the project economics from those resources not considered in the feasibility study and of course there is Fourmile16 that lies contiguous to the Goldrush orebody. To put it plainly, the updated study underscores our belief that this is a world-class asset which more than meets our investment criteria,” Bristow said.
The Pueblo Viejo, in Dominican Republic, and its stakeholders have agreed on a government-led, strategic environmental assessment of the Mine Life Extension Project, which forms part of a project that could extend the life of this Tier One mine to beyond 2040 and support annual production in excess of 800,000 ounces. The agreement comes after more than a year of engagement with the communities that would be directly or indirectly affected by the proposed facility and is an important step towards starting fieldwork and advancing the permitting process. The independent investigation will run in parallel with Barrick’s own land acquisition and environmental studies. The Company has also started work on a local agribusiness development which will be integrated into the tailings facility and create a further benefit for the community. The mine life extension and plant expansion project, which will require an initial investment of approximately $1.3 billion1, has the potential to allow Pueblo Viejo to convert approximately 9 million ounces1 of measured and indicated resources to proven and probable reserves. With the project, Pueblo Viejo’s total economic contribution to the Dominican government in direct and indirect taxes is expected to be over $9 billion from the beginning of commercial production in 2013 through the extended life of mine beyond 2040.
Bristow said, “Exploration is uncovering new satellites and extensions to existing deposits, and the North America and Africa & Middle East regions are likely to more than replace reserves after mining depletion this year with the completion of the Goldrush underground feasibility study and progress at Loulo-Gounkoto, Kibali and the Tanzanian operations. At the same time, our greenfields exploration programs are evaluating new targets with standalone potential away from our mines as well as investigating new regions and third-party projects with the potential to meet our investment criteria. So far this year, The Company has expanded its global footprint through investments in prospective new properties in Nevada, Tanzania, Egypt, Guyana and Japan.”
After a strong start in the first quarter of 2021, the Kibali gold mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, remains on track at the halfway mark of the year to achieve its annual production guidance. Thanks to an aggressive near-mine exploration program, Kibali was continuing to replace its reserves faster than it was mining them, and now had a resource base approaching the 2013 levels when the mine first went into production. This means that Kibali should be able to sustain its production rate well beyond the 10-year timetable in its current business plan, thus continuing to create economic benefits for its stakeholders in a region where its presence has already had a profoundly positive impact,” Bristol said.
Since the development of Kibali started, it has pumped $3.6 billion into the DRC economy in the form of taxes, salaries, payments to local suppliers, and tangible contributions to the infrastructure. In the year to date alone it has paid $73.8 million to local businesses, in line with its policy of giving preference to Congolese contractors and suppliers. It also prioritizes local employment, and of the 5,341 employees and contractors who were on site at the end of June, 94% were Congolese nationals. In Cote d’Ivoire, south of Mali border, significant exploration successes could extend the Tongon gold mine’s life. 10 years after it went into production Tongon could get a new lease on life thanks to promising results from near-mine exploration campaigns designed to replace the mine’s depleted reserves. In addition to work on the promising Seydou North and Tongon West targets, Tongon has filed the documentation for the extension of its Nielle mining licence by a further 10 years, to support the drive to add to its Life of Mine.
Bristow said Barrick, through its predecessor Randgold Resources, had been investing in and partnering with Côte d’Ivoire through the country’s many challenges and development stages.
Barrick has entered into an agreement with the government of Mali to assume responsibility for the rehabilitation of the neglected Fina Reserve. Classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1982, Fina has since suffered from under-investment and mismanagement. The area covers 136,000 hectares and we’re investing $5 million over the next five years to establish anti-poaching programs and rehabilitate the reserve. An expert NGO, Bios, has been appointed to manage the park, and public awareness meetings have been held in 54 villages around the reserve.
After months of negotiation between Nevada Gold Mines (NGM), the Nevada Mining Association and state legislators have resulted in the enacting of a new mining excise tax, the revenue from which will be applied to education.
Chief Operating Officer for North America, Catherine Raw, said, “This outcome, the product of strong representations by NGM in particular, had averted the imposition of swingeing new taxes on Nevada’s mining industry while at the same time creating a new and much-needed revenue stream for the state’s education system. The latter was closely aligned to Barrick’s and NGM’s commitment to supporting education.”
Barrick has gold and copper mining operations and projects in 13 countries in North and South America, Africa, Papua New Guinea and Saudi Arabia. Our diversified portfolio spans many of the world’s prolific gold districts and is focused on high-margin, long-life assets.
The company’s address is 161 Bay Street, Suite 3700, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2S1, (416) 861-9911, www.barrick.com.