Just a few days ago, on October 10, Barrick's President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow took stock of his renewed commitment in Tanzania. https://www.barrick.com/English/news/news-details/2021/tanzanian-mines-on-track-for-production-guidance-well-placed-to-extend-lives/default.aspx The quintessence of his statement could be put like this: Mining pays off for both sides. Since Barrick entered into a groundbreaking partnership with the government in 2020 under the so-called Twiga partnership, the company has paid $118 million in salaries, $496 million in taxes, royalties and license fees, and $609 million for locally procured goods and services. It also paid an initial cash dividend of $250 million. 97% of the workforce is Tanzanian, 40% of whom were recruited from the mines' surrounding communities.
Barrick mines in Tanzania achieve set targets
Speaking to local media, Bristow explained that Barrick Gold Corporation's Tanzanian mines, North Mara and Bulyanhulu, are both on track to meet their 2021 production targets. In line with its long-term commitment to Tanzania, Barrick has also secured exploration targets elsewhere within the Bulyanhulu mining license, Bristow said.
Barrick's recent investments are already bearing fruit, with production growth at Bulyanhulu gaining momentum, according to Bristow. The 11% increase in tonnage is partly due to the investment in three new fully automated loaders and three additional drills. For the first time, a world-class analytical photon assay laboratory has been commissioned at Bulyanhulu - the first of its kind in Africa and in Barrick's global operations. This new technology enables faster, safer and more accurate analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements. This system is an environmentally friendly, chemical-free and more sustainable replacement for traditional fire assay methods, significantly reducing CO2 emissions and hazardous waste. A new crusher has also been commissioned and is being optimized to support increasing production.
At North Mara, a brine treatment plant is scheduled for commissioning in the fourth quarter of this year as part of Barrick's successful efforts to address the mine's historic environmental issues. This also includes a new water treatment plant and an upgraded tailings facility. Last quarter, the Gokona mine's underground operations were connected to the national power grid, reducing diesel consumption by 43%. North Mara's two open pits were redesigned and integrated into the underground mine.
Bristow said Barrick would continue to improve the quality of life in the villages surrounding North Mara in collaboration with the mine's community development committee. Key projects include the construction of a paved road, classrooms, children's wards and laboratories, and support for the agricultural industry.
Changing investment climate in Tanzania also benefits Juniors
We have recently reported on the odyssey of Canadian gold explorer Tembo Gold (TSXV: TEM; FRA: T23A), which has naturally been hit much harder by the political capers in Tanzania than its larger neighbor Barrick. Tembo is also returning to Tanzania and has announced its first exploration campaign in more than six years for its license in the immediate vicinity of the world-class Bulyanhulu mine this fall. Tembo recently raised CAD2 million in fresh capital through a capital increase and is currently valued at just CAD17 million at CAD0.18. We are staying on Tembo.
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