Barrick Gold provides updates on its operations in Tanzania
Barrick Gold Corp. president and chief executive officer Mark Bristow provided an update on the Bulyanhulu and North Mara mines in Tanzania, stating that the production ramp-up at Bulyanhulu was gaining momentum with plant performance ahead of expectations and recoveries at a consistent rate of 93 percent. An 11 percent increase in tonnage was driven partly by an investment in three new fully automated loaders and three additional drills.
Both operations are set to meet their 2021 production targets as well as to replace depleted reserves through brownfields exploration, said Bristow.
The Bulyanhulu Mine is also home to the first analytical photon assay laboratory in Africa as well as Barrick’s first such laboratory. This new technique delivers faster, safer and more accurate analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements. This system provides an environmentally friendly, chemical-free, more sustainable replacement for traditional fire assay methods, significantly reducing CO2 emissions and hazardous waste. A new crusher was also commissioned and is being optimized to support increasing production.
At North Mara the commissioning of a brine treatment plant is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year as part of Barrick’s successful drive to eliminate the mine’s historical environmental issues. This has also included a new water treatment plant and an upgraded tailings facility. During the past quarter the mine’s Gokona underground operation was connected to the national power grid, which will cut its diesel consumption by 43 percent. North Mara’s two open pits have been redesigned and integrated with the underground mine.
Bristow said Barrick was continuing to improve the quality of life in the villages around North Mara, in partnership with the mine’s community development committee. Key projects include construction of a tarmac road, classrooms, pediatric wards and laboratories, and support for agribusiness.
“Since Barrick launched a business development program in Tanzania, we’ve continued to empower the participating enterprises, unlocking more opportunities to expand our mines’ local content spend which has increased from 26 percent of their total expenditure in the first quarter of this year to 40 percent in the second. In the year to date, Barrick has invested 73 percent of its total spend with Tanzanian companies, 44 percent of which went to local businesses,” Bristow said.
“It’s also worth noting that thanks to our policy of employing and upskilling host country nationals, 97 percent of our workforce here are Tanzanians, 40 percent of whom were hired from the mines’ surrounding communities. Recently, for example, Bulyanhulu recruited 19 mining and process plant trainees through their village councils.”
In partnership with the Tanzanian health authorities, Barrick is ensuring the continued roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines. So far, 12 percent of its workforce in the country have been vaccinated.
Since Barrick formed its pioneering partnership with the government through the Twiga partnership in 2020, it has paid $118 million in salaries, $496 million in taxes, levies and royalties and $609 million for locally sourced goods and services. It has also paid a maiden cash dividend of $250 million.