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Kibali Gold Mine Advances DRC Infrastructure and Green Energy

Community Growth and Green Energy Lead Kibali's Contributions

by Adenike Adeodun

The Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), operated by Barrick Gold, is enhancing its reputation through significant contributions to infrastructure development, local socio-economic growth, environmental protection, and coffee cultivation revitalization.

Kibali leads in green energy with three hydropower stations, providing over 80% of its power from renewable sources. An upcoming solar plant will increase this to 85%. These initiatives produce 40.16 MW of power at a cost of $0.10/kWh.

The mine has uplifted the local economy, building and maintaining 300 km of roads, including a connection to the Ugandan border. The community has grown from 30,000 to over 500,000 people, fostering partnerships with local businesses like the all-Congolese team that built the Azambi hydropower station.

Nationals constitute 95% of Kibali’s workforce, with expatriates making up the remaining 5%. Kibali supports 500 DRC companies, paying $2.78 billion to local contractors and suppliers since 2009. Investment in the recruitment and training of Congolese nationals continues.

Kibali supports biodiversity through initiatives like reintroducing white rhinos to Garamba National Park in partnership with African Parks and the DRC government. The feasibility of transferring 30 more rhinos to Garamba is nearing completion.

Kibali is also advancing solar power and energy storage, aiming to reduce thermal fuel consumption by 53%. The KCD UG Deeps expansion project confirms the high-grade down-plunge extension, with the deposit remaining open at depth.

The Cahier des Charges initiative, launched in 2023, has completed five projects, with four more nearing completion. The five-year investment totals $8.9 million. Community development projects continue, with 34 out of 44 projects completed.

In 2024, Kibali targets reducing freshwater abstraction from the Kibali River to 10%, down from 14% last year. Over 90% of non-hazardous waste is recycled. Kibali management recently visited Loyola University in Kinshasa to secure future human resources, with two bursars completing master’s studies in mining engineering from Lubumbashi University.

The mine plans to plant 1,000 hectares of coffee in the Haut-Uele region by 2027 and establish a coffee facility for processing beans for export within East Africa. By the end of 2025, two million tons of beans are expected to be processed. The area’s favorable conditions aim to revitalize the once-thriving Robusta coffee industry.

“We are not only looking after our host countries in the present but also to their national heritage in the future,” Barrick Gold President and CEO Dr. Mark Bristow said. Kibali is Africa’s largest and most automated gold mine.

“When we started building Kibali 14 years ago, this was one of the DRC’s most underdeveloped regions. The value we created and the infrastructure we built here have since transformed it into a new economic frontier and a flourishing commercial hub,” Bristow added.

Bristow highlighted Kibali’s commitment to community development and local business partnerships. The Azambi power station was constructed by an all-Congolese team. Kibali also supports Garamba National Park through various initiatives, including the reintroduction of white rhinos.

The Barrick coffee project in Haut-Uele aims to revitalize the Robusta coffee industry for which Isiro was once renowned. These efforts look after the present and future national heritage of the host countries.

Kibali was built on partnerships with stakeholders, notably the government and host communities. Barrick is ready to invest in new gold and copper opportunities in the DRC, contingent on government collaboration.

Kibali’s life-of-mine is being extended through exploration and resource conversion programs, maintaining its tier-one status. The next steps in underground mine automation are being fast-tracked to empower operators.


Source: Mining Weekly

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