Barrick Gold’s Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex in Mali is on track to meet its annual production guidance with its new underground mine at Gounkoto ramping up production. This is the complex’s third underground operation.

Through successful exploration, it is on track to increase mineral reserves net of depletion for the third successive year and promising results from the Yalea Ridge and Gounkoto-Faraba targets reaffirm the potential for further life-of-mine extensions, according to CEO Mark Bristow.

“Loulo-Gounkoto is one of the world’s greatest gold mining operations and it continues to confirm its status as a member of the industry’s elite Tier One club as well as the largest private sector contributor to Mali’s GDP,” Bristow said.

Mines operated in Mali by Barrick and its predecessor Randgold have spent some $8 billion in the country in the form of taxes, royalties, salaries and payments to local suppliers over the past 24 years. To date this year, it has paid $318 million to the government in taxes, royalties and dividends and invested more than $13 million in community well-being projects, according to the company.

Loulo-Gounkoto is maintaining its commitment to the employment and advancement of host country nationals, in line with Barrick’s global policy, and people from the nearby Kenieba village have been successfully trained to operate key equipment at the new Gounkoto underground mine. The complex is almost entirely staffed and managed by Malian citizens.

“In addition to the enormous value it creates for its stakeholders, Loulo-Gounkoto also aspires to a high level of social responsibility,” Bristow said. “Almost 40% of employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and 335 people have been vaccinated in the surrounding community.

“Security staff and other employees who come into contact with the community have undergone rigorous training in human rights. Work is also under way to secure the new certification standardized by the International Cyanide Management Institute.”