Mr. Mark Bristow reports
LOULO-GOUNKOTO COMPLEX CONTINUES TO INVEST IN ITS FUTURE AND POINTS TO ONGOING IMPROVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
Barrick Gold Corp.'s Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali posted a fourth consecutive quarterly improvement in gold production, despite an illegal work stoppage that caused it to miss its full year production guidance of 690,000 ounces by 4 per cent. In addition to this, 2018 was a record throughput year of more than five million tonnes at close to the complex's reserve grade.
Speaking at a briefing here for local media, Barrick president and chief executive officer Mark Bristow noted that the complex, which ranks among the recently merged Barrick/Randgold group's tier one (1) assets, was continuing to invest in its future by exploring for additional reserves and upgrading plant and equipment.
"A preliminary economic assessment of the Loulo 3 open pit and underground project has been completed and drilling continues to expand the area of high-grade mineralization south of the Yalea orebody. Exploration of the Faraba structure on the Gounkoto permit has shown the potential for multiple zones of mineralization to be extended," Mr. Bristow said.
"At the existing operations, we've commissioned the second crusher at Yalea, the full integration of the automated dispatch system at Gounkoto and the second radar for the geotechnical monitoring of the Gounkoto pit. The complex has also completed the striker belts project at Gara and moved ahead with the expansion of the tailings treatment facility."
Bristow said the continuing profitable growth of Loulo-Gounkoto was a shining example of what could be achieved through a genuine partnership between investors, managers and governments. He cited the tax holiday recently granted for the development of the superpit at Gounkoto as a typical instance of mutually beneficial co-operation.
"As Randgold, we've been engaged in Mali for 25 years and have worked together productively with successive governments. We look forward to continuing this relationship as Barrick with the recently elected government and the new Minister of Mines. Our differences over the tax issue remain on the agenda and we trust that through amicable mediation we'll arrive at a solution acceptable to both parties," he said.
Bristow noted that the complex continued to improve its safety and environmental management, and had obtained the new version of the ISO 14001 environmental certification while retaining its OHSAS 18001 health and safety rating.
The group was also maintaining its support for community development programs and projects. At its other Malian asset, Morila, the government has formally endorsed its plan to establish an agribusiness designed to mitigate the social and economic impact of the operations closure.
About Barrick Gold Corp.
On Jan. 1, 2019, a new Barrick was born out of the merger between Barrick Gold and Randgold Resources Ltd.
The merger has created a sector-leading gold company which owns five of the industry's top 10 tier one (1) gold assets (Cortez and Goldstrike in Nevada, United States (100 per cent); Kibali in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (45 per cent); Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali (80 per cent); and Pueblo Viejo in Dominican Republic (60 per cent)) and two with the potential to become tier one (1) gold assets (Goldrush/Fourmile (100 per cent) and Turquoise Ridge (75 per cent), both in the United States).
With mining operations and projects in 15 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, the Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, USA and Zambia, Barrick has the lowest total cash cost (2) position among its senior gold peers (3) and a diversified asset portfolio positioned for growth in many of the world's most prolific gold districts.
(1) A tier one gold asset is a mine with a stated life in excess of 10 years with 2017 production of at least 500,000 ounces of gold and 2017 total cash cost per ounce within the bottom half of Wood Mackenzie's cost curve tools (excluding state-owned and privately owned mines). For purposes of determining tier one gold assets, total cash cost per ounce is based on data from Wood Mackenzie as of Aug. 31, 2018. The Wood Mackenzie calculation of total cash cost per ounce may not be identical to the manner in which Barrick calculates comparable measures. Total cash cost per ounce is a non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) financial performance measure with no standardized meaning under IFRS (international financial reporting standards) and therefore may not be comparable with similar measures presented by other issuers. Total cash cost per ounce should not be considered by investors as an alternative to operating profit, net profit attributable to shareholders, or to other IFRS measures. Wood Mackenzie is an independent third party research and consultancy firm that provides data for, among others, the metals and mining industry. Wood Mackenzie does not have any affiliation to Barrick. See also (2).
Lowest total cash cost is based on data from Wood Mackenzie as of Aug. 31, 2018. Total cash cost is a non-GAAP financial performance measure with no standardized meaning under IFRS and therefore may not be comparable with similar measures presented by other issuers. Financial comparisons between the postmerger Barrick and its senior gold peers are made on the basis of the data presented by Wood Mackenzie which may not be calculated in the same manner as Barrick calculates comparable measures. Barrick believes that total cash cost is a useful indicator for investors and management of a mining company's performance as it provides an indication of a company's profitability and efficiency, the trends in cash costs as the company's operations mature, and a benchmark of performance to allow for comparison against other companies.
(3) Senior gold peers means the following companies: Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., Goldcorp Inc., Newcrest Mining Ltd. and Newmont Mining Corp.
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