Barrick Gold makes the impossible possible

JUST as the heroic son of Africa Nelson Mandela put it that, it always seems impossible until it’s done, that’s how you can perfectly pen down the story of Barrick Gold subsidiaries in Tanzania, North Mara and Bulyanhulu gold mines.

As the New Year, 2023 dawns the two gold mines are filled with the promises of brighter tomorrow given the background and the situation on which Barrick took the operation of the mines in 2019.

Without more ado after the takeover Barrick hit the ground running by translating its core pillars on human rights and creation of economic benefits into action which maintains that Barrick are guests of the local communities and host countries in which they operate.

To successfully mine the gold within their communities and maintain a social license to operate, it is critical that they share the benefits of their resource with them.

On this regard apart from being recognized as the largest contributor to government revenue in 2021, and thus confirming its position as a key partner in the socio-economic development of Tanzania, the mine has done a tremendous job to the hosting community through Corporate Social Responsibility projects and other initiatives.

A 30 kilometers road known to locals as German road, that connects Nyamwanga and Komaswa has been upgraded and has helped out the residents of Bisalu, Nyakunguru and Nyarwana villages to connect easily with the neighboring villages and the district headquarters, Tarime.

“Our main activities here are farming and livestock keeping, before the upgrading of this road it was almost equal to impossible to ferry our products to the markets in Tarime town and Nyamwaga. Our way of life has been made easy by the improvement of this road,” says Mwita Jackson, the resident of Bisalu village.

On human rights Barrick pledges that, “We work across a diverse range of social, economic and political contexts, and are part of the fabric of society in the local communities and host countries in which we operate. We acknowledge our responsibility, and the opportunity to contribute to realizing human rights for people around the world.” On this aspect Barrick has provided an exemplary way of respecting human rights despite a number of unfriendly acts by some notorious people in the host community of the North Mara Gold Mine.

The mine has always been guarded by unarmed securities as a gesture of sociability to the hosting community. On incidences of invasion, it happens sometimes that the intruders crush against themselves and if they are injured it the mine take the causalities to hospitals for treatment.

“Imagine someone invades your premises with intent to steal, he gets injured at the place he intended to rob, then it becomes your responsibility to cure him! To be frank let’s give the credit where its due, North Mara are doing hundred times more beyond their responsibilities”, says Chacha Warioba who was an invader now working at one of the subcontracting firms at the mine.

Just 40 months after acquiring all outstanding Acaciaissued shares and taking over operations of its Tanzania assets which marked the end of the long impasse between the Tanzania government and Acacia which had led, among other things, to the closure of North Mara and the freezing of export concentrate from the two other operations, a new era is dawning at Barrick Gold operations on this side of the global, it is eying expansion of its activities in the East African nation.

The agreements, which led to the formation of Twiga Minerals Corporation, a new operating company formed to manage the Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi mines, introduced a new era of productive partnership with the government and would ensure that Tanzania and its people would share fully in the value created by the mines they hosted.

Barrick President and CEO Mark Bristow said the resurrection of moribund mines and their transformation into an asset with the potential to be included in Barrick’s elite Tier One portfolio as a combined complex was a remarkable success story.

Tier One Gold Asset is an asset with a reserve potential to deliver a minimum 10 year (production) life, annual production of at least 500,000 ounces of gold, and total cash costs-perounce over the mine life that are in the lower-half of the industry’s cost curve. Since the takeover Barrick has been redesigning and reengineering the two assets, North Mara and Bulyanhulu goldmines to create what are in effect new mines.

The two mines are now set to achieve a combined production in excess of 500,000 ounces for the second year running, the success that lead Barrick Gold Corporation start looking to expand its East African footprint from this base.

“In addition to the brown fields exploration designed to maintain the positive trend on resource expansion and conversion at the two mines, we are also looking further afield. A better understanding of the region’s geological architecture will improve our ability to discover new world-class development opportunities in our areas of interest,” said Bristow.

Registered success in environment The construction of advance treatment facility by North Mara Gold Mine to further treat recycled water through reverse osmosis is another remarkable success as we look back three years ago since 2019.

Barrick Gold spent more than $65 million on water treatment project that increased the treatment plant’s capacity by 16 fold, from 2.5 million liters a day to 40 million liters a day.

The addition of brine treatment plant has reduced volume of salts in the effluent water enabling it to be stored safely. A series of brine water treatment tanks were constructed using precast concrete panels, joined and grouted on site.

The treatment plant has enabled the mine to produce positive clean water balance that are pumped to Ingwe dam, a natural dam within the mine perimeters that receive treated water and propel it to processing plants and to the dechlorination plant where water is made clean and safe for human consumption, the remaining water balance is discharged to Mara and Tigithe rivers.

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