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Kibali achieves 2021 guidance; set for third year of net DRC gold reserve growth

Barrick Gold says Kibali in the DRC is on track to lift its net reserve base for a third consecutive year. Credit: Barrick Gold.

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) says its Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo has achieved its 2021 production guidance with the total output amounting to 812,152 ounces gold.

In a project update, the global gold major noted the operation’s production grew over the year, despite the added burden of strict covid prevention protocols to stem the fourth wave and with no lost-time injuries.

In a news release, CEO Mark Bristow said the mine had worked closely with local health authorities and the provincial government to source vaccines and has partially vaccinated 60% of its workforce, with 43% of the workforce fully vaccinated.

Bristow said Kibali was set to report the third year of net reserve replacement, adding that the ongoing exploration success ensures Kibali remains a top-tier asset by maintaining a plus-10-year life of mine.

The mine leads the group’s clean energy drive with power sourced from its three continuously upgraded hydropower stations supported by new backup battery technology, Barrick said.

During the fourth quarter, the miner spent $40.6 million with local contractors and suppliers, bringing the total since the start of Kibali to $2.1 billion. To date, Kibali has invested some $3.7 billion in the DRC in the form of taxes, permits, infrastructure, salaries and payments to local partners

Kibali paid a dividend during the fourth quarter of $170 million to shareholders of Barrick, AngloGold Ashanti and government parastatal, SOKIMO, bringing the total distribution for the year to $200 million. Bristow said Barrick and the Congolese authorities were working together on a program to release cash to repay offshore loans.

Bristow also said underground drilling at the KCD orebody defined a new high-grade lode above the base of the shaft infrastructure, and that ths discovery could add an entirely new orebody to the existing KCD series of deposits.

Barrick’s Toronto-quoted shares were trending 1.75% lower at C$24.48 by midday Jan 21, giving it a market capitalization of C$43.58 billion ($34.7 billion).