Barrick Gold has fast-tracked the Super Pit expansion project at its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, with the first production now anticipated in 2028.
Expected to entail an investment of nearly $2bn, the project is said to elevate Lumwana to the ranks of the world’s leading copper mines, once operational.
Construction is set to begin towards the end of 2024.
The mine is projected to produce approximately 240,000 million tonnes of copper annually over a lifespan of more than 30 years.
The expansion is a critical part of the Zambian Government’s initiative to rejuvenate the nation’s copper industry over the coming decade.
Since Barrick refocused its strategy in 2019, the once-underperforming Lumwana mine has undergone restructuring and re-engineering, becoming a significant part of Barrick’s growing copper portfolio.
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The ramp-up of the reopened Malundwe pit and the transition to owner mining have been pivotal in Lumwana meeting its production guidance for 2023.
Barrick also highlighted that since 2019, Lumwana has injected nearly $3bn into Zambia. This was facilitated through procurement of goods and services from local businesses as well as via royalties, taxes and salaries.
In 2023 alone, local procurement amounted to $472m, accounting for more than 81% of Lumwana’s total expenditure.
In addition to the mine expansion, Barrick has initiated a Business Accelerator Programme aimed at enhancing the business capabilities of Zambian contractors within its supply chain.
The programme is designed to help them grow, diversify their businesses and ensure sustainability beyond the lifespan of the Lumwana mine.
Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow said: “In line with Barrick’s partnership philosophy, our REDD+ initiative will uplift our host communities through conservation of the natural forest surrounding the mine.
“Resources have already been allocated and engagement with the communities is under way. We are in discussion with the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment to facilitate the required licensing and our partnership with local government.”