All amounts expressed in U.S. dollars
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, Jan. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After nine months of intermittent production caused by illegal strikes and social unrest, the Tongon gold mine returned to normal in the last quarter of 2018 and achieved its revised production target of 230,000 ounces for the year.
Speaking at a media briefing here, Barrick President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow said the Government-endorsed reconciliation agreement between the mine, the employees and the community was designed to create a climate in which operations would run as normal and good relations could be rebuilt.
“This should mark a new beginning for Tongon, and it is significant that the Minister of Mines, Jean Claude Kouassi, visited the mine to sign this agreement in the presence of representatives of all the stakeholders,” he said.
Bristow said Barrick was committed to continuing the Randgold policy of investment in community projects and noted that despite the many challenges it had faced, Tongon had to date spent some $10 million on these initiatives. All eight villages in the mine’s ambit now have primary schools, medical care facilities and potable water, and the development of an agribusiness as a sustainable source of economic activity after the mine’s closure is progressing.
During the year, the mine’s grid power supply was frequently interrupted by the roll-out of the power utility’s new ring circuit, which also impacted production. Bristow said that the situation was much improved after the commissioning of the new circuit and Tongon was looking forward to a more stable supply as well as a more constructive engagement with the utility.
“It’s worth noting that despite its troubled history, Tongon has remained profitable and has continued to pay dividends to its shareholders, including the Government,” Bristow said.
“We are committed to prolong the contribution it makes to the economy and the community by extending the mine’s life. Exploration for additional reserves is continuing around the mine and indications are that this aim is achievable. We are also maintaining our search for new world-class gold deposits in our permit portfolio elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire.”
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Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information
Certain information contained in this news release, including any information as to Barrick’s strategy, plans, or future financial or operating performance, constitutes “forward-looking statements”. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. The words “should”, “continue”, “committed” and “will” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements including, without limitation, with respect to: the benefits of the Government-endorsed reconciliation agreement between the Tongon mine, the employees and the community, future investments in community projects, permitting strategy, the availability of power to the mine and the potential for future mine life extensions, additions to reserves, and exploration success.
Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions; including material estimates and assumptions related to the factors set forth below that, while considered reasonable by Barrick as at the date of this news release in light of management’s experience and perception of current conditions and expected developments, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Known and unknown factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements and information. Such factors include, but are not limited to: changes in national and local government legislation, taxation, controls, or regulations and/or changes in the administration of laws, policies, and practices, expropriation or nationalization of property and political or economic developments in Côte d’Ivoire; lack of certainty with respect to foreign legal systems, corruption, and other factors that are inconsistent with the rule of law; risk of loss due to acts of war, terrorism, sabotage and civil disturbances; fluctuations in the spot and forward price of gold, copper, or certain other commodities (such as silver, diesel fuel, natural gas, and electricity); timing of receipt of, or failure to comply with, necessary permits and approvals; failure to comply with environmental and health and safety laws and regulations; litigation; damage to the Barrick’s reputation due to the actual or perceived occurrence of any number of events, including negative publicity with respect to the Barrick’s handling of environmental matters or dealings with community groups, whether true or not; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development; changes in mineral production performance, exploitation, and exploration successes; diminishing quantities or grades of reserves; increased costs, delays, suspensions, and technical challenges associated with the construction of capital projects; operating or technical difficulties in connection with mining or development activities, including geotechnical challenges, and disruptions in the maintenance or provision of required infrastructure and information technology systems; the impact of global liquidity and credit availability on the timing of cash flows and the values of assets and liabilities based on projected future cash flows; the impact of inflation; fluctuations in the currency markets; contests over title to properties, particularly title to undeveloped properties, or over access to water, power, and other required infrastructure; employee relations including loss of key employees; increased costs and physical risks, including extreme weather events and resource shortages, related to climate change; and availability and increased costs associated with mining inputs and labor. In addition, there are risks and hazards associated with the business of mineral exploration, development, and mining, including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected formations, pressures, cave-ins, flooding, and gold bullion, copper cathode, or gold or copper concentrate losses (and the risk of inadequate insurance, or inability to obtain insurance, to cover these risks).
Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can affect our actual results and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, us. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. All of the forward-looking statements made in this news release are qualified by these cautionary statements. Specific reference is made to the most recent Form 40-F/Annual Information Form on file with the SEC and Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities for a more detailed discussion of some of the factors underlying forward-looking statements, and the risks that may affect Barrick’s ability to achieve the expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements contained in this news release.
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