Loulo-Gounkoto beats 2019 guidance, pioneers Barrick’s first solar power project

The Mali-based Loulo-Gounkoto complex (pictured) includes Loulo underground mines, Yalea Gara and the Gounkoto open pit mine. (Archives image by: Randgold Resources)

Barrick Gold’s (NYSE: GOLD TSE: ABX) Loulo-Gounkoto mine in Mali exceeded its 2019 guidance with production of 714,802 ounces of gold, the Toronto-based miner said Thursday.

Barrick’s chief executive Mark Bristow told media that the complex performs consistently to plan and had replaced depleted reserves through successful brownfields exploration and resource conversion.

“With the development of the complex’s third underground mine scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of this year, and an intensive exploration program in the Kenieba region, Loulo-Gounkoto has significant growth potential and is well-placed to meet all the targets of its 10-year plan,” Bristow said in a press release.

In line with Barrick’s clean energy strategy, Loulo-Gounkoto is pioneering the group’s first solar power project. It is being developed in four phases, with the first scheduled for commissioning at the end of the first quarter and the last in the fourth quarter of this year.

It will add 20MW to the complex’s grid, reduce the unit cost of its power and cut carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes per year, Barrick said.

Bristow said it would serve as a model for the introduction of solar power elsewhere across Barrick, particularly at its North American operations.

Also being implemented at present is the Ramjack Newtrax project, which is setting the foundation for the automation and monitoring of the complex’s underground mines through a fiber network.

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