Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali posted a fourth consecutive quarterly improvement in gold production.
This improvement was achieved despite an illegal work stoppage that caused the mine to miss its full year production guidance of 690 000oz by 4%. In addition to this, 2018 was a record throughput year of more than five million tonnes (Mt) at close to the complex’s reserve grade.
According to Mark Bristow, president and CEO of Barrick, the complex, which ranks among the recently-merged Barrick and Randgold group’s Tier One assets, continues 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 mineralisation south of the Yalea orebody. Exploration of the Faraba structure on the Gounkoto permit shows the potential for multiple zones of mineralisation to be extended,” says Bristow.
At the existing operations, a second crusher has been commissioned at Yalea, the full integration of the automated dispatch system has been installed at Gounkoto and the second radar for the geotechnical monitoring of the Gounkoto pit is in place. The complex has also completed the striker belts project at Gara and is moving ahead with the expansion of the tailings treatment facility.
Bristow says that the continuing profitable growth of Loulo-Gounkoto is a shining example of what can be achieved through a genuine partnership between investors, managers and governments. He cites the tax holiday recently granted for the development of the super pit at Gounkoto as a typical instance of mutually beneficial cooperation.