DRC’s green and automated Kibali gold operation highlighted as mining role model

30th January 2024 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

DRC’s green and automated Kibali gold operation highlighted as mining role model

Kibali gold plant in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Kibali, the largest gold mine in Africa, is now also one of Africa's greenest and most impressively automated operations, which continues to stimulate local economic development and even provides ongoing funding for the reintroduction of white rhinos into a Unesco world heritage site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On the clean energy front, most of the electricity that drives Kibali is already supplied by its three hydropower stations and once Kibali’s new 16 MW solar power plant and additional battery energy storage infrastructure are commissioned, its overall renewable electricity supply is set to increase from 81% to 85%.

Moreover, the additional battery energy storage infrastructure is designed to back up the hydropower supply during the region’s dry season.

For six months of the year, its electricity demand will be met entirely by renewable energy.

“Bearing in mind that Kibali is also a leader in automation, the mine is a real role model for mining in Africa,” Barrick president and chief executive Dr Mark Bristow has highlighted at a media briefing in the DRC.

Built in the remote northeast of the DRC in partnership with government, Kibali has opened up a new mining frontier and, in the process, it has also advanced the development of a flourishing local economy.
Total in-country investment to date in the form of royalties, taxes, dividends and payments to local suppliers amounts to $4.7-billion and the mine's community development fund contributes 0.3% of revenue to the implementation of community development projects, with 44 new projects being launched last year.

The mine’s new Cahier des Charges scheme has also launched 11 projects, with seven nearing completion. Kibali funding of these over the last five years has amounted to $8.9-million.

Regulations introduced in 2018 require mines to set out a clear and financially-provisioned five-year plan for local social development – a Cahier de Charge – in consultation with local communities and stakeholders.

“We’re also continuing our support for biodiversity with plans underway to introduce additional white rhinos to the Garamba National Park,” Bristow enthused in a release to Mining Weekly.

Last year, 16 white rhinos were brought to Garamba with a further 60 scheduled for delivery over the next three years. An environment has been created where white rhinos can exist safely in the park, which is supported by professional staff and qualified veterinarians who regularly monitor their acclimatisation.

Garamba has more than 500 full-time staff and hundreds of additional employees on contract, including law enforcement teams and dedicated community personnel.

The park supports more than 9 000 community members in entrepreneurial enterprises such as beekeeping, fish and poultry farming, as well as four hospitals with a capacity for 12 000 patients.
Operationally, Kibali achieved its production guidance for 2023, and set a new annual throughput record in the process. Gold production in 2023 was 763 000 oz.

Also on track to again replace the reserves mined during the year, Kibali is seen as a standout example of what can be achieved through commitment to partnering with host countries and local communities.

Barrick has expressed strong intent to continue to work with government to grow its investments and development projects.

The Barrick-operated mine is owned by Kibali Goldmines SA, a joint venture company owned 45% by Barrick, 45% by AngloGold Ashanti, and 10% by Société Miniére de Kilo-Moto.