African Barrick Gold reported in mid-October 2007 it had uncovered organized and systematic on-site fuel theft at its Buzwagi open-pit gold operations in north-central Tanzania. As a result, mining of higher-grade ore was delayed, and low-grade stock piles are were being processed, which resulted in a loss of about 10,000 oz of gold production during the third quarter.
Investigations indicated criminal fuel theft syndicates had widely infiltrated the Buzwagi mining department, the African Barrick statement said. As a result, the company suspended about 60 employees and a number of contractors, representing about 40% of the mining department. Management initially expected to recover lost production over the remainder of the year. However, hiring of replacement operators required more time than anticipated, and about 20 operators were sent in by African Barrick’s parent company, Barrick Gold, to assist in restoring mining operations to planned levels and to train a new team of operators.
Overall, the fuel theft incident at Buzwagi is expected to reduce African Barrick’s full-year 2010 production across its four Tanzanian mines—Buzwagi, Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Tulawaka—by about 30,000 oz to about 716,000 oz, comparable to the 716,000 oz produced by the mines in 2009. Buzwagi, which reached commercial production during the second quarter of 2009, produced 99,558 oz of gold during the first half of 2010.