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Barrick to Look for More Gold and Copper Through DRC Partnership

Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX,NYSE:GOLD) is setting its sights on expanding its operations through a partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that would open up new gold and copper opportunities for the company.

Kibali — the company’s joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU,JSE:ANG) — continues to set production records after another successful year, punctuated by the 343,000 ounces of gold it produced in 2023.

Barrick is forecasting higher attributable production from Kibali in 2024, setting a goal of 320,000 to 360,000 ounces.

The company also believes the DRC-based gold mine is set to replace the ounces it depletes through mining.

Barrick President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow, through a March 20 press release, commented on the strong returns yielded by the company’s Congolese investment, which has become Africa’s largest gold mine.

“Kibali has transformed what was previously the disadvantaged north-east region of the country into a new economic frontier and a flourishing commercial hub,” he said. “Of our US$5 billion investment in the DRC, more than half has been spent with local contractors and suppliers, many of whose growth into substantial businesses we have promoted by enhancing their commercial and technical skills and providing them with the opportunities to exercise these.’

Kibali is also in the process of transitioning to renewable energy. Barrick said it plans to commission a 16 megawatt solar plant and associated batteries next year, increasing renewable energy use from 81 to 85 percent.

The mine will run only on renewable power through the DRC’s six month rainy season.

While Kibali is a gold-focused operation, the DRC is not a top 10 producer of the yellow metal. However, copper production in the country has been rising in recent years, and the DRC took the third top spot in 2023.

The DRC is also one of the world’s leading producers of the critical minerals cobalt and tantalum.

Securities Disclosure: I, Giann Liguid, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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