Canadian mining firm Barrick Gold announced that the new underground mine at its Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex in Mali will continue to replace ore depleted by mining.

The Loulo-Gounkoto complex is on track to meet its annual production guidance, as the new underground mine speeding up its operations, said the mining company.

Also, the new underground mine at Gounkoto is the third underground operation in the gold complex.

Mines operated by the company, and its predecessor Randgold have spent around $8bn in Mali, in the form of taxes, royalties, and payments to local suppliers, for the past 24 years.

Furthermore, the company said that work is underway to secure the new certification standardised by the International Cyanide Management Institute.

Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said: “Loulo-Gounkoto is one of the world’s greatest gold mining operations and it continues to confirm its status as a member of the industry’s elite Tier One1 club as well as the largest private-sector contributor to Mali’s GDP.

“Almost 40% of employees have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and 335 people have been vaccinated in the surrounding community.

“Security staff and other employees who come into contact with the community have undergone rigorous training in human rights.”

The complex has produced 680,215 ounces of gold last year, exceeding full-year guidance despite Covid-19 and other challenges, reported Mining Journal.

Barrick Gold is engaged in producing gold and copper with 16 operating sites in 13 countries worldwide.

The company has operations in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, the US and Zambia.

Last month, Kenorland Minerals has agreed to grant an option to a fully-owned subsidiary of Barrick Gold to acquire a stake of up to 80% in its South Uchi project in Canada.