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Barrick details NGM projects at New York event

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This photo from the Carlin Open Pit mine was included in a Barrick Gold Corp. investor presentation this week in New York City.

Barrick Gold Corp. outlined Nevada Gold Mines plans, projects and discoveries at Investor Day presentations in New York that also covered Barrick’s worldwide operations and potential operations for future growth.

“There is more to come from our three Tier One assets in Nevada, where we hold 8,000 square kilometers (4,971 square miles) of prospective land in one of the world’s most richly-endowed gold districts,” Barrick’s president and chief executive officer, Mark Bristow, said in the Nov. 18 announcement about Investor Day.

In her Investor Day presentation, Christine Keener, chief operating officer for North America, reported highlights for the NGM joint venture with the potential to sustain production include new resource growth expected at the end of this year at North Leeville and REN at Carlin, new mine access at Rita K at Carlin, extended high-grade material at Turquoise Ridge Mine, and new resource growth at Cortez.

Feasibility and permitting work are ongoing for the Robinson open pit, and a presentation slide states that there are future open pit opportunities at Fourmile, Robinson and the Hanson target, all at Cortez.

A highlight for next year will be the expected start of production at Goldrush at the Cortez mining complex. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is expected to issue a record of decision in the first quarter of next year, according to Barrick.

For Long Canyon between Wells and Wendover, Keener stated that a review continues to optimize an extension of mine life, but meantime there is only residual leaching since mining ended in the first quarter of this year.

A slide in the Investor Day presentation shows little to no gold production from Long Canyon through 2027.

An update on Carlin operations that Keener presented states that NGM has new portals for accessing the Pete Bajo and Rita K deposits through underground mining.

NGM also is investing in improvements at Gold Quarry and Goldstrike autoclaves, along with extending the life of the Gold Quarry oxide mill and concentrator to the first quarter of next year because of additional oxide ore from open pits, the presentation states.

NGM at Carlin also brought the West Barrel layback forward at the Goldstrike open pit to support REN infrastructure and the opening of new exploration areas, according to the presentation, which additionally notes growth opportunities at the Horsham deposit.

At Cortez in Lander and Eureka counties, NGM continues to transition from the Pipeline open pit to Crossroads for surface mining, with high-grade oxide ore delivery expected in the current quarter, and NGM brought production forward from the Cortez open pits while continuing buttressing of Cortez Hills, Keener reported.

At Turquoise Ridge in Humboldt County, NGM plans to extend production at the Vista underground mine to 2024 from the previously planned 2023 extension, and there is potential for future growth, according to her presentation. Vista is in the Twin Creeks portion of the Turquoise Ridge complex.

The growth opportunities at Turquoise Ridge underground mine include the Southern Extension (BBT Corridor), Getchell expansion and the Turquoise Ridge to Twin Creeks corridor, the presentation says.

Before the NGM joint venture of Barrick, 61.5%, and Newmont Corp., 38.5%, Barrick operated Turquoise Ridge and Newmont operated Twin Creeks. Newmont also had an interest in Turquoise Ridge and processed ore from Turquoise Ridge.

The third shaft at Turquoise Ridge has been commissioned to provide increased hoisting capacity, additional ventilation and shorter underground haulage distances, and NGM is upgrading the Sage autoclave to improve throughput, reliability and recoveries, according to the presentation and Barrick’s earlier third-quarter earnings report.

Keener reported that at the Phoenix Mine south of Battle Mountain, the first batch of sulfide flotation concentrate was produced and shipped to Carlin for processing, while pit slope optimization and increased recoveries are driving additional reserves and resources.

Phoenix is a gold and copper mine.

Keener’s presentation states that Phoenix is exploring opportunities to expand copper production, including looking at porphyry potential around Copper Canyon stock and high-grade gold and copper potential around Copper Basin.

Her presentation also shows that Barrick is now exploring Walker Lane in western Nevada, with a new option agreement with Orogen Royalties at Pearl String.

Barrick’s Chief Financial Officer, Graham Butterworth, said in his Investor Day presentation that roughly half of NGM’s cost base is represented by consumables (33%) and fuel and energy (16%), and NGM deals with 2,223 suppliers.

Barrick’s North American operations also include Golden Sunlight in Montana, where mining has ended but a new tailings reprocessing project is in the commissioning phase, the Investor Day presentation says. The tailings provide sulfur concentrate for NGM’s Carlin roasters to recover refractory ore.

Keener additionally reported that the Hemlo Mine in Canada is addressing legacy infrastructure constraints to enable improved and consistent operational delivery, and studies are under way for a potential larger open pit, with first production as early as 2027.

The Donlin exploration project in Alaska also falls under Keener’s leadership, and the largest drilling program there has been completed.

Including North America, Barrick has operations in 18 countries. Bristow emphasized the expansion at Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic, which is 60% owned and operated by Barrick and 40% owned by Newmont, has new value following finalization of the location for a new tailings storage facility.

“In Africa, our two Tier One mines continue to deliver geologically driven growth, while the two Tanzanian mines we took over have been transformed into successful operations and have the potential to achieve Tier One status as a combined complex,” Bristow said.

“Meanwhile, we’re well on our way to building a Tier One copper business as a result of the Reko Diq project in Pakistan and the Lumwana super pit in Zamia,” he said.

Bristow also said on Investor Day that Barrick is a leader in sustainability and plans a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 against a 2018 baseline “with the ultimate goal of net zero emissions by 2050.”

Barrick had representation at the COP27 event in Egypt as part of the International Council on Mining and Metals, and Bristow said in a separate Nov. 18 announcement that the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals won’t be met while environmental and social challenges are dealt with separately.

“A transition to a green economy must be a just transition and must focus on the upliftment of those countries left behind in the developing world. Over the past two decades, only 2% of global renewable energy investment has gone to Africa, most of which is unevenly distributed,” he said.

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