Strike takes shine off Barrick’s Loulo-Gounkoto production results
Full-year production at Barrick Gold’s Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex in Mali, which the Canadian miner obtained as part of its merger with Randgold, fell shy of expected targets, mainly as a consequence of a week-long strike at the operation, the company said.
The Mali-based operation, one of the pillars of the country’s economy since Loulo went into production in 2005, produced 1.29 million gold ounces, below the expected 1.3 to 1.35 million ounces for 2018.
President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow noted the company will continue investing in the complex, which ranks among the recently-merged Barrick-Randgold group’s Tier One assets, with the goal of detecting additional reserves.
“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 mineralization south of the Yalea orebody,” Bristow said. “Exploration of the Faraba structure on the Gounkoto permit has shown the potential for multiple zones of mineralization to be extended.”
Speaking about the company’s long-running dispute with the government over a claim of as much as $200 million in back-taxes, Barrick leader said the issue remained on the agenda. “We trust that through amicable mediation we’ll arrive at a solution acceptable to both parties,” he noted.
As Randgold, the company has been operating for over 25 years in Mali, Africa’s third-largest gold producer.