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How Africa’s Largest Gold Mine is Paving the Way for a Green Future

How the mine relies on renewable energy and supports local communities

by Motoni Olodun

Africa is home to some of the world’s richest gold deposits, but also some of the most challenging environmental and social conditions. Mining companies have to balance the need to extract the precious metal with the responsibility to protect the environment and the communities that live near their operations. One of the leaders in this field is Barrick Gold, the Canadian mining giant that operates the Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Kibali gold mine is not only the largest of its kind in Africa but also one of the greenest. The mine relies on renewable energy sources to power its operations, reducing its carbon footprint and its dependence on fossil fuels. The mine has three hydroelectric stations and a newly commissioned 16 MW solar power plant and energy storage facility, which together provide 85% of its electricity needs. For six months of the year, when hydropower is abundant, the mine runs entirely on renewables.

Barrick Gold’s president and CEO Mark Bristow praised the mine’s achievements in a recent speech in the DRC, where he highlighted the benefits of renewable energy for the mining sector and the country. “Bearing in mind that Kibali is also a leader in automation, the mine is a real role model for mining in Africa. As a long-standing partner of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we built Kibali in the remote northeast of the country, opening up a new mining frontier and, in the process, also promoting the development of a flourishing local economy,” he said.

Bristow also pointed out that the mine has contributed significantly to the DRC’s coffers, with a total of $4.7 billion paid in taxes, royalties, dividends, and payments to local suppliers since 2010. The mine also has a community development fund that allocates 0.3% of its revenue to local projects, such as health, education, infrastructure, and agriculture. In addition, the mine supports biodiversity conservation efforts, such as the plan to introduce more white rhinos to the Garamba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Kibali gold mine, which is jointly owned by Barrick Gold, AngloGold Ashanti, and the state-owned SOKIMO, has a life span of 18 years and is expected to produce 360,000 ounces of gold in 2023. The mine is also exploring ways to extend its mine life and increase its reserves through an ambitious exploration and resource conversion program.

The Kibali gold mine is an example of how mining can be a force for good in Africa, providing not only economic benefits but also social and environmental ones. The mine shows that renewable energy is not only feasible, but also desirable for the mining industry, as it can lower costs, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions. The mine also demonstrates that mining can coexist with nature and support the preservation of wildlife and ecosystems. The mine’s success is a testament to the vision and commitment of Barrick Gold and its partners, who have invested in the future of the DRC and its people.

Source: Mining.com


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