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Barrick Loulo-Gounkoto Mine: Two Decades Of Value Delivery And Partnership In Mali

“Of the US $ 6.5 billion contributed to Mali’s national economy, a total of US $ 2.6 billion was allocated to taxes, royalties and dividends. Barrick Gold’s contribution to GDP in 2018 was approximately 6%” said president and chief executive Mark Bristow said during a press conference. 

Twenty years after Morila started production, the Barrick owned and operated gold mines in Mali continue to make a major contribution to the country’s economy and lead the growth of its mining industry, he added.

Bristow said while Morila was heading for closure after producing 6.8 million ounces of gold, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex ranked as one of the world’s top 10 Tier One1 gold mines and during the past quarter again delivered the greatest production improvement in Barrick’s global portfolio.  In total Randgold and its successor have spent $160 million on exploration and contributed approximately $6.5 billion to the greater economy with taxes, royalties and dividends totaling $2.6 billion.  The Company’s contribution represented approximately 6% of Mali’s GDP in 2018.  Bristow noted that the Government and Barrick’s Mali management team had made progress in resolving outstanding tax disputes and the Company expected to conclude the agreed mediation process soon.

At the year’s halfway mark, he said, Loulo-Gounkoto was well on its way to achieve its 2019 production guidance of 690 000 ounces of gold2.  Continuing brownfields exploration around its three main orebodies was confirming the potential to replace depleted reserves, supporting and possibly extending the complex’s 10-year plan.  Barrick is also hunting new orebodies along its 70-kilometer tenement straddling the Mali-Senegal shear, which has produced more major gold discoveries over the past 20 years than anywhere else in the world.

Value Creation and Partnership
The Loulo-Gounkoto complex currently includes the Yalea and Gara underground mines and the Gounkoto super-quarry which could be a fourth underground mine whose feasibility is being studied.

It is ranked as one of the 10 largest gold mines among its peers. This complex has again recorded in the last quarter, the largest production improvement in Barrick’s overall portfolio.

Indeed, Loulo is on track to achieve its 2019 production target of 690,000 ounces of gold as exploration continues around its three main deposits. 

CSR in the forefront
CSR is always in the foreground of Barrick Gold and to date, Loulo-Gounkoto has invested more than $ 6.4 million in community development.

Starting with the installation of a 20 megawatt solar power plant that is being installed, which will save the mine some 10 million liters of gas oil a year while reducing its carbon footprint and provide a lower-cost source of energy for communities after the eventual closure of the Loulo-Gounkoto complex.

Other community projects include the agricultural college created by the complex and released its third promotion whose members have all been placed in agribusiness projects.

A total of 19 schools, one for each village, were built and enrollments increased by over 5,000 to 500 when the mine was opened. Three clinics have been built for communities and the implementation of malaria and HIV / AIDS programs continue to reduce the incidence of deaths.

Also, the agro business center designed to leave after the closure of the mine is a sustainable economy for local communities takes shape.

Finally, it should be noted that Malians run all three mines in Loulo-Gounkoto and 95% of the 4,000 employees included in the complex are also Malians.

“The Barrick mines have been good for Mali, not only in terms of their contribution to the economy but also for their world-class health, safety and environmental practices, their substantial investment in sustainability, their support of local suppliers and contractors, and their policy of employing and empowering Malian citizens.  For their part, Mali and its people have been rewarding hosts and partners, and we look forward to continuing our productive relationship with them,” he said.

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