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Barrick’s Lumwana in Zambia earmarked to become a superpit

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Mark Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick Gold. Image credit: Barrick Gold

Barrick’s Lumwana in Zambia earmarked to become a superpit   

Barrick Gold Corporation’s drive to transform the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia into a Tier One asset with a life extending beyond 2060 is picking up speed.

Lumwana, a conventional open pit (truck and shovel) operation is located about 100km west of Solwezi in Zambia’s Copperbelt, recorded a strong performance in the past quarter adding impetus to its continuing production ramp-up.

According to Mark Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick Gold the transformation of Lumwana from a marginal copper asset into a world-class operation demonstrates the commitment of the company to expand its copper holdings in Africa and globally.

“Since 2019 Lumwana’s fortunes had been turned around completely. Its life has been extended and it has been built into a profitable business, with significant growth opportunities,” says Bristow.

Today, Lumwana is one of Zambia’s largest copper producers and employs more than 4,400 people, 99.3% of them Zambian nationals.

Lumwana’s full potential revealed (Barrick’s Lumwana in Zambia earmarked to become a superpit)

Bristow adds that the mine’s full potential was only now being revealed. “Additional expansion opportunities, identified through an updated geological model, are currently being assessed, while drilling at the Kababisa prospect highlights potential mining flexibility through higher grades,” he says.

The Lumwana pre-feasibility study is progressing in line with Barrick’s plans to transform its long-term copper profile through the delivery of the envisioned super pit.

“Since Barrick refocused its strategy in Africa in 2019, Lumwana has become a key element in the expansion of our strategic copper portfolio and a significant contributor to our bottom line.

“At the same time its importance to Zambia has grown. Since 2019 it has contributed more than USD2.3-billion to the country’s economy in the form of royalties, taxes, salaries and purchases from local suppliers,” says Bristow.

As a lower-grade mine, Lumwana is volume-driven and there is a strong focus on driving down operational costs by achieving efficiencies through scaled operations.

This year’s production has already benefited from the improved runtimes provided by a new fleet of trucks and shovels. The planned upgrade of the conveyor system will secure steady ore delivery to the plant, boosting throughput and production next year.

“Promising drill results at the Lubwe satellite target are increasing our confidence that we will be able to develop a super pit and still keep producing at today’s rates and more.”

Extending the life of mine (Barrick’s Lumwana in Zambia earmarked to become a superpit)

“Should the super pit prove viable, it will substantially extend the mine’s life with a two-year pre-feasibility study scheduled to commence in 2023.

“In addition to Lubwe, the assessment of the Kamaranda and Kababisa prospects is ongoing with drill programmes planned for the fourth quarter and potential to add additional satellites.

It’s worth noting that the government’s new mineral royalty tax regime, scheduled to come into effect in January next year, will unlock additional free cash flow for Barrick, allowing us to reinvest in Lumwana,” Bristow concludes.

Barrick’s Lumwana in Zambia earmarked to become a superpit   

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Barrick’s Lumwana in Zambia earmarked to become a superpit   

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Barrick’s Lumwana in Zambia earmarked to become a superpit   

 

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