Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold (NYSE: GOLD) announced Tuesday that its North Mara and Bulyanhulu gold mines in Tanzania, which were ”moribund” mines are now qualifying Tier 1 assets.
Barrick, who took over management of the mines in 2019 after reacquiring Acacia Mining announced that the mines generated combined production of more than 500,000 ounces in 2021. Barrick explained that to be considered in a higher category, the assets must have reserve potential that offer a minimum mine life of 10 years, as well as annual production of at least 500,000 ounces of gold and octal cash costs per ounce over the life of the mine.
North Mara is expected to become a fully integrated mine with the planned implementation of the Nyabirama pit during the current quarterly period and the commissioning of the Nyabigena pit which, the company stated, is scheduled to commence operations in the third quarter of 2022. This could add substantial resources and greater flexibility to the mine’s plan.
Meanwhile, Bulyanhulu, having achieved steady production with the successful ramp-up of its mining and metallurgical operations in December last year, has established itself as a world-class, low-cost, long-life subway mine.
Mark Bristow, Barrick’s chief executive officer stated that the mines’ strong performance is supported by protocols and implementation of vaccinations for its workforce. The company reported that 26.45% of the workforce has already been partially vaccinated and 20.25% are already on the full vaccination schedule.
Toronto-based Barrick Mining signed an agreement with Tanzania last year that established a model for negotiations with other companies, ending a long-standing tax controversy. The deal allowed the government to acquire stakes in three gold mines.
Barrick has increased its presence around Bulyanhulu through the acquisition of six highly prospective licenses surrounding the mine. In addition, its operating teams are also on the lookout for new opportunities elsewhere in Tanzania.
Tanzanian nationals now account for 96% of the workforce and the mines continue to recruit and train people from surrounding villages. Since re-entering Tanzania, Barrick has invested more than $1.8 billion in taxes, wages and payments to local businesses. It has also invested $6.7 million in community infrastructure, health and education.
Regarding the environmental problems inherited from previous operators reported in Barrick’s Human Rights report, Bristow mentioned that these problems have been successfully addressed.