Canadian miner Barrick Gold has announced an extension to the mine life of its Tongon gold project in Côte d’Ivoire.

The news follows the continued success of gold exploration in the mine’s area on the Nielle mining permit.

The mine entered production in 2010, with closure expected by 2021. In 2021 however, exploration activities around the mine led the company to file documentation for the mine life to be extended to 2026, while recent successes have led the company to extend it even further. 

Hilaire Diarra, general manager of the Tongon gold project, said: “Exploration has further delivered the Seydou North, Tongon West and Djinni satellite targets, adding to the life of mine. Barrick has now also been awarded a new exploration permit for Boundiali and drilling is ongoing at the Fonondara conversion project.” 

The mine, which is situated in the north of the country, close to the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, produced 284,863oz of gold in 2020; 206,000oz in 2021 and 200,000oz in 2022, continuing the project’s streak of consistent profitability. 

Diarra stated: “In spite of the fact that throughout its life Tongon has had to contend with serious operational issues, as well as a challenging socio-political environment, since pouring first gold it has never had an unprofitable quarter, which is a tribute to the dedication of the mine’s successive management teams. At the halfway mark of this year, it is on track to once again achieve its annual production guidance.”

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Tongon is expected to exceed 200,000oz of gold production again in 2023.

Barrick acquired the Tongon project, among others, following a 2018 merger with Randgold, which previously owned and operated the site. The government of Côte d’Ivoire also holds a 10% stake in the mine.