Tag Archives: Mark Bristow

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.”

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 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.

Barrick continues to adopt new technologies at Kibali gold mine

Barrick Gold says its 45%-owned Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is continuing its technological advances with the introduction of truck and drill training simulators and the integration of systems for personnel safety tracking and ventilation on demand.

The mine, which is owned 45% by AngloGold Ashanti and 10% by SOKIMO, surpassed its 2019 guidance of 750,000 oz in 2019, delivering 814,027 oz in another record year, Barrick said this week.

Barrick President and Chief Executive, Mark Bristow, told a media briefing that Kibali’s continuing stellar performance was a demonstration of how a modern, Tier One gold mine could be developed and operated successfully in what is one of the world’s most remote and infrastructurally under-endowed regions.

He also noted that, in line with Barrick’s policy of employing, training and advancing locals, the mine was managed by a majority Congolese team, supported by a corps of majority Congolese supervisors and personnel.

Kibali is already one of the world’s most highly automated underground gold mines, with the operation’s backbone being Sandvik’s Automine Multi Fleet system, supervised on surface by a single operator. In a world first, it allows a fleet of up to five LHDs to be operated autonomously, 750 m below the surface, within the same 6 m x 6 m production drive while using designated passing bays to maintain traffic flow, the company says. A similar system is used in the production levels to feed the ore passes, according to Barrick.

The company said it had now introduced truck and drill training simulators and integrated systems for personnel safety tracking and ventilation demand control, adding that the simulators will also be used to train operators from Barrick’s Tanzanian mines.

Bristow also said that the company was maintaining a strong focus on energy efficiency at the mine through the development of its grid stabiliser project, scheduled for commissioning in the June quarter of 2020.

He said: “This uses new battery technology to offset the need for running diesel generators as a spinning reserve and ensures we maximise the use of renewable hydro power. The installation of three new elution diesel heaters will also help improve efficiencies and control power costs. It’s worth noting that our clean energy strategy not only achieves cost and efficiency benefits but also once again reduces Kibali’s environmental footprint.”

Bristow said despite the pace of production and the size and complexity of the mine, Kibali was maintaining its solid safety and environmental records, certified by ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 accreditations.

Barrick Pueblo Viejo natural gas plant about to power up

Barrick Gold says the Pueblo Viejo power plant is expected to receive its first natural gas in the March quarter as it looks to lower greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs, in line with the group’s clean and efficient energy strategy.

Pueblo Viejo entered into a 10-year supply agreement with AES Andrés DR, SA, in May 2018, for the provision of natural gas and the construction of a gas pipeline from the AES gas terminal to the Quisqueya I power plant for the mine. This is also expected to benefit the San Pedro region which has not previously had access to this cleaner alternative fuel, the company said.

Owned 60% by Barrick and 40% by Newmont Goldcorp, Pueblo Viejo is expected to produce 550,000-600,000 oz of gold in 2019 at all-in sustaining costs of $610-650/oz.

Barrick President and Chief Executive, Mark Bristow, says, since the commissioning of the Quisqueya I power plant, in 2013, Pueblo Viejo has looked for ways to reduce the impact of its air emissions on the environment and the cost of energy production.

“The conversion of Quisqueya I to natural gas will help reduce Pueblo Viejo’s power generation costs by some 30%. Greenhouse gases will also be cut by 30% and nitrogen oxide by 85%, and the mine’s dependence on oil will be significantly decreased,” he said.

The gas pipeline is facilitating the conversion of other power plants in the region to translate into further reduction in greenhouse emissions and significant savings in energy costs within the Dominican national grid, according to Barrick. Recently other power producers in the area have announced the conversion into natural gas of an additional 525 MW, it said.

Barrick said: “Pueblo Viejo is also contributing to the Dominican electricity sector with the construction of the Bonao III power substation as part of a public/private alliance with the Dominican Transmission Entity and Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina (EGE Haina) which owns the power plant Quisqueya 2 located next to Quisqueya I. The substation is expected to help to provide more stability to the country’s national grid. Finalisation is scheduled for mid-next year.”

Bristow noted: “The conversion agreement, the natural gas pipeline and the Bonao III substation represent a step forward, not only for Pueblo Viejo but for the Dominicans, as it shows not just environmental benefits, but also a significant reduction of the country’s electricity cost, less dependency on crude oil and more stability for the national power grid.”

Barrick and Newmont Goldcorp launch Nevada Gold Mines

Barrick Gold and Newmont Goldcorp have officially launched their Nevada Gold Mines LLC joint venture, just over three months since the two signed an implemtentation agreement.

The new JV, owned 61.5% and operated by Barrick, and owned 38.5% by Newmont Goldcorp, will rank as the largest global gold producing complex by a “wide margin”, according to Barrick, with three of the world’s top 10 Tier One gold assets (Goldstrike/Carlin, Cortez and Turquoise Ridge/Twin Creeks) and potentially another one in the making (Goldrush), the company said.

Nevada Gold Mines’ assets in north-eastern Nevada comprise 10 underground and 12 open-pit mines, two autoclave facilities, two roasting facilities, four oxide mills, a flotation plant and five heap leach facilities. In 2018, these operations produced a total of 4.1 Moz of gold, approximately double that of the industry’s next largest gold mine (Muruntau, in Uzbekistan).

The company has a reserve and resource base with proven and probable reserves of 48.3 Moz; measured and indicated resources of 27.4 Moz; and a further 7.5 Moz of inferred resources with still more potential, Barrick said.

Nevada Gold Mines is targeting production of between 1.8-1.9 Moz at a preliminary estimated cost of sales of $940-970/oz and all-in sustaining cost of $920-950/oz for the second half of 2019.

Barrick President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Bristow, who is chairman of the new company, says the establishment of Nevada Gold Mines was designed to combine, arguably, the industry’s best assets and people in order to deliver the best value to stakeholders.

“Its creation was driven by a compelling logic which had long been evident to all but had been elusive for two decades until we finally achieved a breakthrough this year,” Bristow said.

“Over the past months, we have selected and set Nevada Gold Mines’ leadership in place. The company now has one team that shares one vision, and who are more than ready to race out of the starting blocks. We have also identified the very significant synergy opportunities which are immediately available and those which have been targeted for the future.”

Gary Goldberg, Newmont Goldcorp’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “This innovative joint venture represents a unique opportunity to generate additional long-term value for our shareholders, employees, and the communities of northern Nevada. By combining our assets and talent in Nevada, the joint venture will extend safe, profitable and responsible production much further than what each company could have done on its own. We look forward to actively participating in and supporting the JV to deliver a positive step-change in results.”

Identified synergies are expected to deliver up to $500 million/y over the first five years from 2020, stepping down over time after that. These will come mainly from integrated mine planning, optimised mining and processing, cost reductions and the combination of the adjacent Turquoise Ridge and Twin Creeks, which will be operated as a single mine.

Barrick said: “Second half guidance builds in those synergies that the company believes it should be able to realise within the next six months, representing approximately half of the targeted annual cash flow improvements. With the closing of the JV now complete, the company will look to incorporate further synergies to benefit 2020 and beyond.”

The future benefits include longer profitable mine lives, longer-term employment opportunities, longer-term benefit-sharing with local communities and longer-term advantages for Nevada’s economy, according to Barrick.

Bristow noted that the Nevada Gold Mines management team included executives from both joint venture partners. The Executive Managing Director is Greg Walker, formerly Head of Operations and Technical Excellence for Barrick’s North American region. Barrick has three board seats and Newmont Goldcorp two, with the board supported by technical, finance and exploration advisory committees on which both companies have equal representation.

Barrick and Newmont agree on Nevada gold joint venture

Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining have signed an implementation agreement that should see the two companies’ Nevada mining operations, assets, reserves, and talent combine under a joint venture.

The joint venture will, according to the two companies, allow them to capture an estimated $500 million in average annual pre-tax synergies in the first five full years of the combination, which is projected to total $5 billion pre-tax net present value over a 20-year period.

“The joint venture is an historic accord between the two gold mining companies, which have operated independently in Nevada for decades, but have previously been unable to agree terms for cooperation,” they said.

Barrick Gold had previously made an offer to take over Newmont, which itself is in the middle of trying to complete the acquisition of fellow gold miner Goldcorp. The company has agreed to withdraw this offer, in addition to proposals for the Newmont annual general meeting that it submitted on February 22. These included, according to Newmont, an amendment to Newmont’s by-laws to lower the share ownership threshold necessary to requisition shareholder meetings to 15% from the current 25% and to repeal all by-law amendments implemented since October 24, 2018.

Barrick President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Bristow, said the Nevada agreement marked the successful culmination of a deal that had been more than 20 years in the making. “We listened to our shareholders and agreed with them that this was the best way to realise the enormous potential of the Nevada goldfields’ unequalled mineral endowment, and to maximise the returns from our operations there.

“We are finally taking down the fences to operate Nevada as a single entity in order to deliver full value to both sets of shareholders, as well as to all our stakeholders in the state, by securing the long-term future of gold mining in Nevada.”

Gary Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of Newmont, said the logic of combining the two companies’ operations was compelling. “This agreement represents an innovative and effective way to generate long-term value from our joint assets in Nevada, and represents an important step forward in expanding value creation for our shareholders. Through the joint venture, we will also continue to pursue the highest standards in safety, along with responsible and meaningful engagement with our employees, communities, and other stakeholders,” he said.

Following the completion of the joint venture, the Nevada complex will be the world’s single-largest gold producer, with a pro-forma output of more than 4 Moz in 2018, three Tier One assets, potentially another one in the making, and 48 Moz of reserves.

The establishment of the joint venture is subject to the usual conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed in the coming months.

The joint venture will exclude Barrick’s Fourmile project and Newmont’s Fiberline and Mike deposits, pending the determination of their commercial feasibility.

Barrick working with Sandvik on autonomous and manned equipment interaction

Barrick Gold says it is advancing autonomous production systems and projects as it looks to become the global leader in mining efficiency.

President and CEO Mark Bristow said in the company’s 2018 financial results that to achieve its goal of being the world’s most valued gold company, in a rapidly evolving environment where the industry’s shift to developing countries will continue, Barrick will have to be at the leading edge of automation.

“Kibali, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is currently at the forefront, with its mission control system which manages the underground ore handling logistics without human intervention from the surface, but across Barrick there are many automated operations and developments which are now being unified in a group strategy,” he said.

These include, Barrick said, underground drills that can be run from surface during shift changes; automated underground and open-pit haulage trucks; fully-autonomous backfill systems; remote-controlled open-pit drills; and autonomous drilling of development and production blastholes by multiple units controlled by a single remote operator.

Glenn Heard, Senior Vice President Mining, said ongoing projects currently cover five main areas: underground development and production drilling, production and haulage, and open-pit haulage and production.

“At present, all our systems have barriers which prevent human access to the autonomous operating zones. Our next big step will be to create a situation where autonomous and manned units can work together seamlessly within the same active areas, and we’re working with Sandvik and other providers to achieve this,” he said.