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Barrick Gold Corp’s ABX-T Tongon mine in Ivory Coast will continue operating until at least 2030 following a significant discovery of new deposits, its director general said.

The country’s biggest industrial mine, located north of the port city of Abidjan, started production toward the end of 2010 and was due to close in 2020.

But the discovery in 2021 and 2022 of four new pits around the mine, as well as a significant deposit with an exploration permit in the nearby region of Boundiali, will extend its life and boost output, Hilaire Diarra said in an interview.

Barrick Gold planned to process gold mined in Boundiali in Tongon. But the company is considering building a new mine in Boundiali in 2025 if the deposit turns out to be larger than the one in Tongo, he added.

The mine’s output is expected to rise above 200,000 ounces of gold in 2023 and continue to increase gradually until at least 2026, Mr. Diarra said.

Production stood at 206,000 ounces of gold in 2021 and 200,000 in 2022.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is seeking to develop its long-neglected mining sector to diversify its revenue.

Gold output has been climbing steadily for several years and the country produced a record high of about 48 tonnes of gold in 2022, up 14 per cent from the previous year.

Production is expected to reach 50 tonnes this year with the start of production from two mines belonging to Roxgold – owned by Fortuna and Tietto Minerals – and 55 tonnes when a new mine from Endeavour starts operating in 2024.

Mr. Diarra noted that government interventions had reduced irregular mining around Tongon.

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