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Barrick Gold Explores New Opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire

President and chief executive Mark Bristow of Barrick Gold Corporation reported recently that the company is dynamically finding ways to increase the life of its Tongon gold mine and simultaneously searching for new possibilities elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire.

Lecturing at a briefing for local media visiting the mine, Bristow observed that the Tongon gold mine was presently in its 10th year of operations, while its developer Randgold Resources, since its merge with Barrick Gold Corporation, had been occupied in Côte d’Ivoire for over 20 years. It has spent more than $90 million (CFA 52 billion) on exploration alone during that period.

Tongon was discovered and developed in the midst of a civil war and since then has had to contend with almost every conceivable challenge including social and political unrest in the region, a protracted work stoppage, and an erratic power supply.

Mark Bristow, President and Chief Executive, Barrick Gold Corporation

Bristow continued, “Thanks to a committed and courageous management team—comprised almost entirely of Ivorian nationals—the mine has nevertheless been consistently profitable, delivering significant value to all its stakeholders and pointing the way for the growth of the country’s mining industry and economy.”

On current reserves, Tongon has under three years of life left, but we hope to extend that by converting near-mine resources to reserves, exploring the potential of satellite deposits and probing targets along the Badenou trend in the Tongon lease area. We are also seeking to advance the agribusiness projects designed to provide economic opportunity and food security for the local community after the mine’s closure.

Mark Bristow, President and Chief Executive, Barrick Gold Corporation

In other places in Côte d’Ivoire, widespread exploration work is on-going on all the permits within the company’s vast portfolio, which spans the most potential areas of the country. Bristow stated that the success of this program partly relied on the government’s constant support in the processing of applications and enabling access to permits.

He further stated that as the President had appointed a devoted Minister of Mines, there had been a considerable difference in how the Government was working with the industry to deal with important problems that had shown to be barriers in the past.

Addressing the mine’s present performance, Bristow stated that Tongon had reconstructed the capacity compromised by last year’s extended work stoppages, and that the halfway phase of 2019 was on track to realize its production target of about 290,000 ounces of gold.

Its constant commitment with the government and the national power utility has led to a major enhancement in the stability of the power supply as a result of the expansion of the regional infrastructure. Additionally, it is keeping up a constructive industrial relations climate on the mine.

The safety record of the mine continues to be excellent and so far it has worked over 8.7 million Lost-Time Injury-Free Hours. Its water management has been further enhanced and its safety and environmental certifications have been renewed.

Together with an NGO, Tongon successfully continues to deal with public health on the mine and in the surrounding community via malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention programs.


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