Loulo-Gounkoto operation. (Image courtesy of Barrick Gold).

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX)(NYSE: GOLD) announced that at the halfway mark of the year, its giant Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex in Mali is on track to meet its production guidance of 510,000 – 560,000 ounces for 2022 and replace its annual reserve depletion to extend the mine life beyond 2037.

In late 2021, Gounkoto’s third underground mine ramped up production, while an increase in mineral reserves net of depletion was underway through successful exploration. Promising results from the Yalea Ridge and Gounkoto-Faraba targets also reaffirmed the potential for further life-of-mine extensions.

Speaking from the complex on Saturday, Barrick’s president and chief executive Mark Bristow also said that the commissioning of the Gara West open pit is ongoing, as is the extension of the solar power plant and the further strengthening of local partnerships.

“In the first half of the year, we’ve contributed $337 million to the Malian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, dividends, salaries and payments to local suppliers, taking the lifetime contribution of Barrick, previously Randgold, to $8.5 billion,” Bristow said. “We’re particularly proud of the fact the Gara West pit is being mined for us by two Malian contractors we have mentored.”

The executive pointed out that first as Randgold and now as Barrick, the Toronto-based company has been operating in Mali for 25 years and plans to stay there for another quarter of a century. 

“The strong and mutually rewarding partnerships we have forged with the government, local business partners and our host communities are the key to our success and an example to Africa’s other mining countries,” Bristow said.

The Loulo-Gounkoto complex comprises the Loulo and Gounkoto mining permits and is situated in western Mali, bordering Senegal.

Société des Mines de Loulo SA (Loulo) owns the Loulo gold mine, and Société des Mines de Gounkoto (Gounkoto) owns the Gounkoto gold mine. Both Loulo and Gounkoto are owned by Barrick (80%), and the State of Mali (20%).

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