Barrick Gold Corporation says promising drill results could see the life of its Lumwana copper mine extended to 2060 from 2042, its Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow has said.
Mr. Bristow said since 2019, Lumwana’s fortunes had been turned around, making it one of Zambia’s largest copper producers.
He said a new mineral royalty tax regime, which is scheduled to come into effect in January next year, would unlock additional free cash flow for the company.
And Mr Bristow says the transformation of Lumwana from a marginal copper asset into a world-class operation demonstrates the commitment of Barrick Gold Corporation to expanding its copper holdings in Africa and globally.
Mr. Bristow said Lumwana Mine life has been extended and it has been built into a profitable business, with significant growth opportunities.
He said a solid year to date performance has kept it on track to achieve its annual production guidance.
Now one of Zambia’s largest copper producers, it employs more than 4,400 people, 99.3% of them Zambian nationals.
It has an exceptional safety record, with no fatalities since 2016 and a lost time injury frequency rate of less than 1.0% over the past 10 years1.
“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,” Mr. Bristow said.
“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. 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.”
Asked if Barrick, had an interest in investing in Mopani Copper Mines, Bristow said the company was open to opportunities.
“We will look at all opportunities that come our way,” he said.
Zambia is looking for an outside investor to reinvigorate Mopani Copper Mines, which needs a big cash injection to ramp up production.
Mopani, a large mine and smelter complex, is looking for new investors after Glencore sold the asset to ZCCM-IH in January last year.
ZCCM-IH hired Rothschild in June to help find a new investor to upgrade and expand it.