Innovation keeps Kibali at the forefront
Continuing investment in technological innovation is keeping global giant Barrick Gold’s Kibali mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the forefront of developments in automated mining.
According to Mark Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick Gold, machine learning has been implemented at the mine’s three hydropower stations.
“Reactive control of the enlarged battery installation will further reduce the need for back-up diesel generation, shrinking Kibali’s already relatively small carbon footprint,” says Bristow.
In addition, Barrick has installed new automation software for the underground haulage loaders and the commissioning of a system for remote stope bogging now enables operators to control loaders from surface.
“Surface control is safer and more efficient, and it also creates employment opportunities for women. It’s worth noting that all Kibali’s operators are Congolese, as the mine continues to employ and upskill locals in line with Barrick’s global policy of giving preference to host country nationals. Congolese citizens currently make up 94% of Kibali’s workforce including its leadership,” says Bristow.
“Kibali remains on track to achieve its production guidance for the year and grow its mineral reserves net of depletion, securing its future as a Tier One operation for at least another 10 years,” he adds.
Kibali supports a thriving local economy in a region previously largely reliant on subsistence farming. Bristow says that up to date, the mine has spent almost USD95-million with local contractors and suppliers, many of whom were nurtured by the mine through skills transfer and capacity building.
“To date Kibali has contributed USD3.7-billion to the Congolese economy in the form of payments to contractors and suppliers, infrastructure community and support, salaries and royalties, taxes and permits. The success of our continuing exploration program around the mine confirms the potential for reserve growth from new open pittable resources and extensions to the high-grade underground orebodies, indicating that Kibali will materially benefit the DRC and its people for years to come,” says Bristow.
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