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Barrick under pressure in Mali as regime eyes control of Loulo-Gounkoto

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) is under increasing pressure in Mali as the country’s military regime seeks to tighten its grip on the lucrative mining sector, The Globe and Mail reported.

After seizing power in a coup in 2021 and forming an alliance with Russian troops, the Mali junta has been focusing on the mining industry. They conducted an industry audit and introduced a new mining code aimed at expanding state control over mining companies.

Recent reports suggest that the regime may be planning to seize control of Barrick’s key mining complex, Loulo-Gounkoto, one of the world’s largest gold-producing mines. Barrick has chosen not to comment on the matter.

According to the Africa Defense Forum, published by the Africa Command of the U.S. military, Barrick’s gold mining complex in Mali is now “in Russia’s crosshairs.”

In January, Russian soldiers reportedly took control of the Intahaka gold mine, the largest artisanal mine site in northern Mali.

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow has visited Mali twice since late January, emphasizing the significant contributions made by Barrick’s mines to Mali’s economy. These contributions include nearly $10 billion in taxes, royalties, salaries, and payments to local suppliers, constituting 5% to 10% of the country’s GDP.

According to the miner, just over the past 12 months, the complex has contributed more than $1 billion to the Malian economy.

The Loulo-Gounkoto complex currently holds proven and probable gold reserves estimated at 6.7 million ounces, with measured and indicated gold resources totaling 9.1 million ounces. It produced 683,000 ounces of gold in 2023 and is on track to meet its production guidance for the current quarter and the year.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More