Tag Archives: Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold advances emissions reductions targets after a year of ESG positives in 2020

Barrick Gold has decided to up the ESG ante with a new emissions reduction target to 2030 that makes its goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 that much more achievable.

The company said its ESG strategy delivered tangible results in 2020, included zero Class 1 environmental incidents, a new record of 79% water recycling and re-use by its operations, and the introduction of fully functional community development committees at all its operating sites to guide its social investment programs.

Speaking in a virtual presentation on sustainability this week, Barrick President and CEO, Mark Bristow, said: “At the beginning of last year, we set an emissions reduction target of 10% by 2030 against a 2018 baseline that combined the data from the legacy Barrick and Randgold operations as well as newly acquired assets. Through the year, we worked on identifying further reduction opportunities and this has enabled us to set an updated target of at least 30% by 2030 with an interim reduction target of 15% based on projects already being implemented, while maintaining a steady production profile.”

He added: “Ultimately our aim is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, achieved primarily through greenhouse gas reductions and offsets for some hard-to-abate emissions,” he said.

Sustainability has long been a strategic business priority for the company, according to Bristow.

“Our strategy is based on four pillars: the creation of economic benefits for all stakeholders; the protection of health and safety at our mines and in their host communities; a respect for human rights; and the minimisation of our environmental impacts. For us, ESG is not a corporate compliance function: it’s integral to how we manage our businesses worldwide.”

In the same presentation, Barrick’s Group Sustainability Executive, Grant Beringer, said all the company’s sites had been certified to the ISO 14001:2015 environmental management standard. Each site had also been empowered to manage its own environmental issues under the oversight of the group’s strategic leadership. There was a particularly rigorous approach to management of tailings facilities, the company added.

Beringer said: “Our tailings and heap leach management standard has been aligned with the recently updated guidelines of the International Council on Mining and Metals, of which Barrick is a member, as well as those of the Mining Association of Canada. The standard sets out six levels of inspection and surety for the safe operation of tailings and heap leach facilities.”

Perenti plants roots in USA on North America contract mining potential

Perenti Group has targeted the North America market for further contract mining growth, establishing a US office in the first half of its 2021 financial year.

The office, thought to be in Denver, Colorado, will help the company make the most of the substantial pipeline it has identified in North America.

The news came during the company’s first half results to the end of December 2020, which showed off revenue of A$1.01 billion ($799 million) and EBITDA of A$201 million.

Noting strong growth in its underground business and a contraction in its Africa surface business (most of which is tied to its AMS subsidiary), the company said it had won A$1.1 billion of new work and extensions since July 1, 2020, while its orderbook was around A$5.5 billion and its pipeline was circa-A$9.2 billion.

Within this global pipeline, A$2.1 billion was in the North America region, Perenti said. This was made up of 14 projects, three of which were at the tendering stage. Overall, 14% of the pipeline was from the US and 9% was in Canada.

The company, through its Barminco subsidiary, won its first “significant” North America contract last year when it signed on to an underground contract mining agreement at Barrick Gold’s Hemlo mine in Ontario, Canada (pictured).

In other news, the company said increased demand for its MinAnalytical mineral sample processing had been registered in the six months to the end of December, with record PhotonAssay processing recorded in December 2020.

The company also said it was “progressing alternative service offerings” during 2021.

Capital bolsters Barrick Bulyanhulu work with laboratory, drilling contracts

Africa-focused mining services company, Capital, says it expanded its operations at Barrick Gold’s Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania with the award of two new contracts for its drilling and geochemical laboratory services divisions.

The contracts include a five-year laboratory services contract for Capital’s MSALABS subsidiary, together with a two-year underground grade control drilling agreement.

Capital commenced operations at Bulyanhulu in February 2020, undertaking a complex deep hole delineation drilling program. The company’s execution of the program resulted in an expansion of services, with two underground rigs added to operations from May, it said. The new contract will expand the underground fleet at Bulyanhulu to four, using two rigs from the existing fleet and including the acquisition of a further two underground rigs.

MSALABS, meanwhile, will undertake initial laboratory design and deliver ongoing laboratory management and analysis services under the laboratory services contract. Analysis capabilities will include fire assay together with new Chrysos PhotonAssay technology that uses X-ray technology to determine the gold content of mineral ores more quickly and accurately than traditional methods.

The contract terms are expected to be finalised imminently for a five-year term, key personnel recruitment and training is now complete and initial commissioning processes are underway, Capital said, adding that the new contracts were scheduled to commence on December 1.

Stuart Thomson, MSALABS CEO, said: “We are excited to commence this new contract with Barrick to manage their on-site laboratory at the Bulyanhulu mine. The use of the ground-breaking new Chrysos PhotonAssay technology will significantly increase assay throughput at Bulyanhulu, while delivering a much faster sample turnaround time for Barrick.”

Capital’s Executive Chairman, Jamie Boyton, said: “We are very pleased to be expanding our services at the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine and continue our valued relationship with Barrick. It is particularly pleasing that our team’s successful execution of the initial deep hole drilling program has contributed to this expansion and we are now delivering multiple services at the site.

“This aligns to Capital’s growth strategy of expanding services with existing customers at established mine sites, with the laboratory services contract to contribute to an increase in the company’s non-drilling revenues.”

Sandvik and Barrick confirm Artisan Z50 trials at Turquoise Ridge gold mine

Sandvik and Barrick have confirmed the signing of a partnership agreement for trialing and enhancing battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for underground hard-rock mining.

During a three-year production trial, Sandvik will deploy four Artisan Z50 BEV trucks at the Turquoise Ridge gold mine, part of the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture (JV), Sandvik said. Barrick is the operator of the JV, which is the single-largest gold-producing complex in the world, forecast to produce a total of 3.4-3.65 Moz of gold during 2020.

The announcement follows an acknowledgement of such a deal by President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, Henrik Ager, earlier this month.

The Z50 haul truck, with a 50 t payload capacity, is a ground-up design that seamlessly integrates the most capable and proven battery electric powertrain available in the mining industry with the latest and most coveted features of any haul truck on the market today, according to Sandvik.

It is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack. This makes battery swapping faster and easier with a minimum amount of manual handling: changing the battery only takes about six minutes, and it can be done in a passing bay or old re-muck bay with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed.

In phase 1 trials, the Z50 truck already achieved more than 1,400 hours of production with over 1,400 loads, according to Sandvik. It reached production operation of up to 18 hours per day, with speeds of over 10 km/h observed on the ramp to the tip.

Some of the key performance indicators in the new partnership will include the performance of the BEV technology in a production environment, mechanical availability, average lifecycle cost and overall production cost, Sandvik said.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our performance, both in terms of sustainability and operational efficiency,”  Mark Bristow, Barrick’s President and CEO, said. “This partnership with Sandvik is exciting and will give us first-hand experience in BEV technology in our own production environment. It is a significant step to furthering our BEV strategy across the group.”

Ager added: “I am very pleased that Barrick and Sandvik have teamed up to perform these extensive trials in a daily production environment. It gives us the possibility to prove the performance of our BEV technology.

“The purely battery-powered truck helps to reduce heat and emissions underground, helping mines reach their sustainability targets and reduce ventilation costs. This raises the bar for what is possible and enables an all-new level of production and cost reduction for underground hard rock mines.”

A dedicated site project team will be jointly working with the Barrick operations team during the trial period to ensure that all data is captured and the experience from both Sandvik and Barrick is used to ensure the uptime and productivity targets are met, Sandvik said.

Barrick’s digital transformation moves forward with SAP implementation

Barrick Gold says its new transactional system, SAP S/4HANA, has gone live at its 61.5%-owned Nevada Gold Mines company and will be rolled out across the entire group during 2021.

The implementation lays one of the key foundations for the group to reap the benefits of becoming truly digital, and will enable a new level of real-time decision making as well as a more agile and business-led approach to systems and data-driven initiatives, Barrick said in its September quarter results.

“The project stayed on track with a very ambitious timeline despite the obvious challenges presented by the pandemic, with the legacy Newmont sites going live on August 1 and the rest of Nevada Gold Mines on October 1,” the company said.

Back in January, SAP confirmed the gold miner had chosen SAP S/4HANA to future-proof its global business and growth ambitions. SAP calls SAP S/4 HANA a “future-ready enterprise resource planning system with built-in intelligent technologies, including AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics”.

Barrick’s Head of Group Systems Integration, Nico Hoffman, says: “By keeping the global design standardised and focused on getting the basics right, we have set up the rest of the implementations for success and paved the way for them to be completed on time.”

Training adopted a new approach, formulated during Barrick’s strategy sessions earlier this year. This involved identifying particularly talented individuals who were added to a pool of ‘super users’ inside the various business functions.

“These users take up ownership of the system by acting as the first line of support for issues as well as by driving continuous incremental improvement of the core application,” Barrick said. “Almost immediately they began delivering refinements and improvements which will be included in future rollouts.”

Hoffman added: “This project demonstrates the value of having both a very clear end goal and the correct level of executive functional sponsorship on board from the very beginning and we look forward to seeing the results of applying this to future developments.”

The SAP rollout coincides with the start of a number of initiatives including a common global data platform, a new financial reporting and planning system, as well as various operational technology enhancements, rationalisations and unifications, Barrick said. “It also signals the end of siloed local customisations which previously stood in the way of one true global solution.”

Barrick to receive three more Artisan Z50 battery-electric trucks, Ager says

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has signed an agreement with Barrick Gold that could see four Artisan Z50 battery-electric trucks deployed at the miner’s majority-owned operations in Nevada, Henrik Ager confirmed this week.

Speaking at Sandvik’s Capital Markets Day on Tuesday, Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (soon to be President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions), said the company had just signed “a cooperation partnership” with Barrick in relation to the delivery.

“We have one (truck) operating already and have three coming,” he said.

Back in May, a Barrick spokesperson confirmed to IM that an ongoing trial involving a 50-t payload Z50 was expected to be finalised in the June quarter of this year, “with the option to extend, should the KPIs not be met”. The machine was being tested at Turquoise Ridge, a gold mine operated under the Nevada Gold Mines company, owned 61.5% by Barrick and 38.5% by Newmont.

Based on this order, IM assumes the Turquoise Ridge trial was a success.

Alongside this reveal, Ager, talking up the company’s next-generation AutoMine® Concept vehicle recently revealed at the Innovation in Mining event, said the company currently had automation solutions at 59 sites across the mining industry. This compared favourably with solutions at 43 sites 18 months ago, and 19 sites back in 2016.

Mader Group to maintain heavy equipment fleet at Nevada Gold Mines

Mader Group says it has entered into a contract with Nevada Gold Mines for the provision of heavy equipment maintenance.

The ASX-listed contractor will be responsible for providing skilled labour for mechanical and electrical maintenance, machining, scheduling and planning to Nevada Gold Mines, a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont, to ensure the upkeep of heavy mobile equipment operating standards.

The three-year contract will see Mader Group deliver maintenance labour services across Nevada Gold Mines’ eight mine sites, associated infrastructure and processing facilities (all located in Nevada).

Mader Chief Executive, Patrick Conway, commended the team’s track record and growing capability since launching operations in the US.

“This is just one of several key contracts ensuring our continued expansion in the region,” Conway said. “It gives us great pleasure to support Nevada Gold Mines in what is likely to be a fruitful and long-lasting relationship. Forecasting 2.1-2.25 Moz of gold production in 2020, Nevada Gold Mines is expected to account for approximately 30% of total US gold production with optimal fleet performance a critical component in achieving their targets. We look forward to providing a top tier and dependable maintenance service to back their success.”

Barrick to bid goodbye to Hemlo open pit as Barminco ramps up UG activities

Barrick Gold says plans to extend the life of the Hemlo gold mine, in Ontario, Canada, by transitioning it to a modernised Tier Two asset with a purely underground operation are well underway as open-pit mining at the mine starts winding down.

The Hemlo open pit has been mined since 1989 and has produced over 2.8 Moz of gold in the process. It was originally used to produce blasted rock for the backfilling of the mine’s underground stopes but, in 2002, a Cat 777 truck fleet and key personnel were seconded from Barrick’s Nevada mines to establish the pit as a separate division.

In 2013, the David Bell mine closed, leaving the open pit and the Williams underground mine as the chief sources of ore for the mill feed. Over the next six years, the open pit ramped up and became the primary source of ore for Hemlo.

With mining at the open pit scheduled to wind down at the end of this month with less than 200,000 t of ore remaining, a transition plan has been put in place to transfer most of the 70 plus open-pit employees to the current underground contractor, Barminco. The open-pit crew has already worked with the contractor in digging a new portal from within the open pit that will open up new mining fronts in the underground mine, creating more flexibility and allowing the underground to ramp up throughput.

Catherine Raw, Chief Operating Officer for North America, said that by repositioning and expanding Hemlo as an underground operation, it would continue delivering benefits to the community, employees and other stakeholders for years to come.

Barrick Hemlo’s General Manager, Adam Foulstone, thanked the open-pit employees for their years of dedication and hard work.

“It’s been a great run and I am honoured to have worked with such a great team,” he said. “The last years of the mine were very challenging but we completed the work with zero lost time injuries, a testament to the commitment and professionalism of our people.”

The mine held a dedication ceremony on October 5 to unveil the new portal sign honouring long-serving employee, Jim Harasym. Harasym is the Open Pit Manager at the Hemlo mine and was instrumental in the success of the project.

Skeena Resources signs up Ausenco, SRK and AGP for Eskay Creek PFS

Skeena Resources is to commence a prefeasibility study (PFS) on its Eskay Creek gold-silver project in the Golden Triangle of northwest British Columbia, Canada.

The goal of the PFS is to de-risk Eskay Creek, while developing an appropriate execution strategy to ensure fast-tracked development towards commercial production, Skeena says.

Given the success of the team that developed the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Eskay Creek, Skeena says it will once again partner with Ausenco Engineering Canada, SRK Consulting, and AGP Mining Consultants to complete the PFS. The target completion date for the PFS is summer 2021.

This PEA envisaged a high-grade open-pit mine producing a life of mine average of 236,000 oz/y of gold and 5.81 Moz of at all-in sustaining costs (including by products) of $615/oz gold recovered. It would involve a 6,850 t/d mill and flotation plant producing a saleable concentrate.

Shane Williams, Skeena’s new Chief Operating Officer, said: “I am very excited to be joining the Skeena team at this transitional stage in the company’s history. The PFS is the next step in the evolution of Eskay Creek as we move this high-grade, open-pit project towards development and through to commercial production.”

A key work program as part of the development of the PFS will be an extensive infill drilling program to convert a large portion of the inferred resources into the measured and indicated category and following completion of the PFS, declare maiden reserves for Eskay Creek, Skeena said.

The company said: “Following the completion of the Eskay Creek PEA in 2019, several areas were identified that could be optimised and enhanced with further work. This includes optimising the metallurgy and the concentrate quality and to better optimise the flowsheet.

“Another focus area will be to gain a better understanding of the geotechnical characteristics in the open pit, which will allow for further pit optimisation studies. Preparations and planning for these work programs are ongoing.”

Subject to the agreement with Barrick, upon exercise of the option to acquire a 100%-interest in Eskay Creek, the company will enter the permitting process for the expanded Eskay Creek project, it said.

Skeena has already begun the environmental studies that are required for permitting and has initiated community engagement and consultation with Indigenous Nations.

Barrick continues to leverage automation and battery-electric technology

Barrick Gold, despite numerous COVID-19-related hurdles, made progress on the innovation front in the March quarter, with a haul truck automation trial and battery-electric underground equipment developments continuing to take place.

In its 2019 annual report, Barrick said the first stage of a project designed to retrofit an autonomous system at its Carlin gold mine, in Nevada, had been successfully completed.

In the March quarter results presentation last week, Mark Bristow, Barrick President and CEO, updated investors on this project, saying a proof of concept allowing manned and unmanned operations in the same zone had been completed at one of its mines. On top of this, the company said it was working on autonomous drilling projects.

It is underground where the biggest revelation came, with Barrick confirming trials of a 50 t battery-electric haul truck it mentioned in its 2019 annual report had commenced at its Turquoise Ridge gold operation, in Nevada. This trial involved an Artisan Z50 (graphic, pictured), the largest battery-powered underground haul truck currently on the market.

A Barrick spokesperson said the trial of the 50 t payload truck was expected to be finalised in the June quarter of this year, “with the option to extend, should the KPIs not be met”.

Barrick previously reported the introduction of a battery-powered development drill at its Hemlo underground gold mine, in Ontario, Canada, “as a first step towards establishing the potential of this new technology” in 2019. Having carried out a trial of this Sandvik DD422iE battery-powered development drill, the Barrick spokesperson confirmed the company has now acquired the unit.

Designed to use electric energy from an onboard battery during tramming and plug into a mine’s existing energy infrastructure while drilling, the Sandvik DD422iE has been used at Newmont’s Borden mine, in Ontario, among other places.

Bristow said on the call that the company believes battery-powered electric underground equipment “has the potential to lower operating costs and increase efficiencies”.

In addition to these automation and battery-electric vehicle developments, Barrick said in the results that a new global SAP Enterprise Resource Planning system was on track for its first implementation at the Nevada Gold Mines JV operations in the September quarter. This is a “more agile, less overly-customised tool, focused on getting the right information”, according to Barrick.

“This more streamlined and standardised global design will further improve our ability to report real-time cost and efficiency data and, more importantly, manage our real-time information,” Bristow said on the call.

The NGM JV implementation could lay the groundwork for a solution to be rolled out to other regions in 2021, according to Barrick.

Barrick’s underground digital innovation plan has seen the company recently adopt technologies that allow it to remotely monitor, in real time, a machine’s location, productivity and health, as well as that of operators’, Bristow said. This tool could increase its efficiencies and predictive maintenance capabilities, he added.

Barrick’s team at Loulo Underground, meanwhile, has helped develop a system that automatically turns secondary fans on and off using personal RFID tracking systems, Bristow noted on the call. This could help reduce power consumption at the mine, in Mali, and the project is now being implemented across its Africa underground mines, he said.