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HomeAfricaGBR - Mark Bristow

GBR – Mark Bristow

How would you assess Barrick Gold’s (Barrick) performance in 2023?

As we disclosed at the time of our Q3 results, we expect our annual gold production to be marginally below the 4.2 to 4.6 million oz/y guidance range we announced at the start of 2023. This is primarily due to the de lay in receiving the “Record of Deci sion” from the United States Bureau of Land Management in relation to the permitting of the Goldrush proj ect, changes in the Crossroads open pit model, and some process inter ruptions to address long term main tenance requirements (all in Nevada). Turquoise Ridge had a stronger per formance relative to 2022, thanks to a successful turnaround exercise by its new management team and the commissioning of its third shaft. The lessons learned at Turquoise Ridge, mainly about the critical importance of teamwork and planned mainte nance, are now being rolled out at the other Nevada mines.

Furthermore, in the LATAM re gion, equipment issues hindered the ramp-up of our expansion project at our Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic. The “Record of Decision” at Goldrush was eventually received in late December 2023 and we are expecting to complete the ramp up at Pueblo Viejo by the end of Q1 2024, meaning these issues are largely behind us.

In Africa, we have had another steady performance with attribu tion production at the 1.5 million oz/y mark, consistent with prior years and with all mines in the region expected to deliver on their guidance for the 2023 year. As previously communicated, our 2023 copper production is expected to be within guidance, albeit at the low end of the 420 to 470 million lb/y range.

Can you discuss the role copper is poised to play in Barrick’s future strategy?

We plan to double our copper pro duction by the end of the decade. There remains significant upside po tential in the gold industry, and the copper operations are strategic and additive to that.

Reko Diq in Pakistan is positioned to rank as one the world’s Top 10 copper mines when it reaches full production, and the pre-feasibility study on the Lumwana Super Pit Expansion is pro jected to deliver a potential of 240,000 t/y over a 36-year life of mine, from a plant expansion that will increase our processing capacity to 50 million t/y.

The accelerated Lumwana work program is scheduled to deliver a full feasibility study by the end of 2024, and we are expecting production from the Super Pit to start in 2028. The Reko Diq project also remains on track to deliver an updated feasibility study by the end of 2024.

With ongoing operations and es tablished programs in Mali, the DRC, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Zam bia, and Egypt which areas of Africa does Barrick forecast growth to come from in 2024?

We believe Africa remains largely un tapped despite the natural resource riches it is endowed with. As a multi national organization with a long his tory of discovering, building and oper ating big mines successfully in Africa, we remain best placed to unlock the vast potential of the continent. As such we still see great potential for world-class discoveries around our operations and further afield in Africa. With its wealth of resources and our strong partnerships there, Tanzania is a particularly promising candidate for our next multi-million oz discovery.

What is your assessment of the consolidation of the gold scene in West Africa, and what makes an at tractive target for Barrick?

Any M&A target or JV opportunity needs to be more appealing and ad ditive to us on a holistic organizational basis compared to what we can de liver through our own geologically focused and proven track-record of organic growth through exploration. If there is one thing that sets Barrick apart, it has been our ability to deliver sustained and significant growth in our reserves. Since the merger with Randgold in 2019, we’ve replaced 125% of our reserves. Looking to the fu ture, we expect reserve replacement and our organic growth projects to increase production by some 30% by the end of the decade. We pride our selves in our ability to operate in most places in the world where we can find quality assets, bar a few limited excep tions. We have built and are still op erating some of the largest and most successful mines in Africa. As such we believe we are best placed to play a pivotal role in any consolidation drive in the region, should we identify op portunities that meet our clear value creation and strategic filters.