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Exploration

Annual Report 2020

Exploration

In 2020, brownfields exploration again added substantial resources and reserves to our asset base.

The engine that drives our value creation is exploration.

Both legacy companies have a long record of success in making world-class discoveries and developing them into sustainably profitable mines. In 2020, brownfields exploration again added substantial resources and reserves to its asset base while across the world's premier gold districts, Barrick's generative teams continued the hunt for the next Tier One deposit.

2021 Regional Exploration Triangle

2021 Regional Exploration Triangle

 
Strategy and Portfolio Management

Barrick’s strategy is to:

  • Consolidate and secure dominant land positions in its favoured operating districts and emerging new prospective geological domains.
  • Focus on economically feasible discoveries with potential Tier One status.
  • Collaborate closely with mineral resource management to optimize existing orebodies and mining operations.
  • Establish and develop motivated and highly agile discovery driven teams.
  • Optimize the value of undeveloped projects.
  • Identify emerging opportunities and secure them through earn-in or acquisition.

We stand on a strong foundation with significant organic growth potential. Our organizational and operating culture underscores the importance of understanding all the characteristics of orebodies, and using that to maximize the economic value throughout the entire mining value chain.

Barrick’s exploration approach is to first understand the geological framework and ore controls. We then design exploration programs around that understanding, instead of simply drilling for mineralized intervals. This has put us in good stead with robust results from multiple projects.

The resource triangle is an essential business tool used to manage a balanced exploration portfolio and to ensure projects pass a set of filters. In 2020, some projects yielded very encouraging results and advanced up the triangle, while those that did not, were replaced by emerging new high potential projects.

Barrick’s greenfields exploration teams are hunting for the next world-class discovery across our global holdings, as well as scouting for emerging new targets and projects where the full potential to yield a discovery has not yet been realized. In 2020, Barrick completed six earn-in agreements as well as added land positions in new prospective mineral districts including Japan, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Suriname, Peru, Tanzania and the DRC.

 
North America

The Nevada Gold Mines joint venture controls more than two million acres surrounding the mines. The best potential for near to medium-term Life of Mine additions are at North Leeville, Fourmile and Goldrush, as well as the Ren project at Goldstrike (Carlin). The best opportunities for significant new discoveries are in the area between Turquoise Ridge and Twin Creeks, between Pipeline and Robertson at the Cortez complex and in the Carlin Basin south of Gold Quarry.

Exploration Focus on Nevada & North America Geology

Exploration Focus on Nevada & North America Geology

The geological model of our orebodies was improved significantly in 2020. At Goldrush, Fourmile and throughout the Carlin Trend, a breccia classification scheme was created. This will be used to further develop a full 3D breccia model to enable better prediction of mineralization and a more robust resource model to optimize planning.

The Carlin complex is richly endowed with gold deposits and this Tier One asset has some very exciting opportunities, not only for resource expansion but also for new world-class discoveries. Detailed relogging, modelling and additional framework drilling in the North Leeville area has identified several new controls to mineralization. Subsequent drilling has validated and refined the geology model, and results to date have confirmed at least two emerging high-grade areas, well above the average reserve grade at Leeville. Drilling closer to existing mine infrastructure has also identified controls to high-grade mineralization, and continues to extend the Turf orebody to the north and west.

Like Carlin, the Cortez complex has a wealth of opportunities for expansion and growth. The Goldrush and Fourmile discoveries are good examples of our policy of first understanding the geological framework and then building out the necessary exploration programs. At Fourmile, the improved confidence in our geological understanding is demonstrated by our inaugural declaration of an indicated resource at the project, while still growing the inferred resource.

Moreover, drilling at Fourmile pointed to another emerging high-grade pod at Dorothy. There is no doubt this resource will grow once we drive the development from Goldrush and infill drill Fourmile. In the meantime, we continue to establish the geological framework further to the north and seek the next discovery in this string of high-grade orebodies. Still in the Cortez complex, Pipeline-Crossroads is a world-class deposit and resources continue to grow at the Robertson deposit. As the feasibility work at Robertson advances, the exploration team is taking a closer look at what lies between Pipeline- Crossroads and Robertson.

Turquoise Ridge has one of the highest underground grades in the industry but was developed as a low tonnage, high-grade mine and not based on a proper geological model. This offers a significant opportunity for value creation. The legacy Turquoise Ridge and Twin Creeks properties are on opposite ends of an 8km trend, both with a historically poor geological understanding and a lot of potentially prospective ground between them. A great deal of work has been done on this since the formation of NGM and new targets in what was thought to be a maturing district have already started to emerge. The newly discovered Midway fault between Turquoise Ridge and Twin Creeks could be an important district-scale mineralization control. The focus in 2021 is to target metal leakage above and peripheral to an important mineralizing fluid trap that localizes some of the highest grades at Turquoise Ridge. This work is a precursor to finding a vector to target the source of high-grade mineralization.

At Hemlo in Ontario, Canada, drilling at the Blackfly target to the west of the mine has highlighted the potential to expand mineralization in that direction. Land consolidation east of Hemlo has increased the prospective search space across the camp following the completion of two option agreements. Knowledge from the Hemlo orebody will be leveraged as potential exploration activities are evaluated for the new properties. Community and stakeholder engagement regarding the new prospective search space has begun.

 
Latin America and Asia Pacific

This past year was marked by the establishment of a new exploration and new business team for the region, and as a result we are working to expand our footprint and open up new opportunities across Latin America. We have applied for properties in new prospective mineral districts, reached earn-in agreements with third parties and are negotiating many more.

Latin America Geology

Latin America Geology

Immediately adjacent to the Pueblo Viejo mining concession, we are securing an important parcel of land as part of the Pueblo Viejo expansion plan. On the joint venture permit itself, an interesting new target has been developed southeast of the Moore pit, with a kilometric scale geochemical anomaly coinciding with favourable alteration, and a structural architecture reminiscent of Monte Negro. Elsewhere in the Dominican Republic, we have evaluated three new mineral districts, and are in the process of applying for and consolidating land positions in two of them.

In the Veladero-Pascua Lama district, a drilling campaign to test the link between the underlying deposit geology and metallurgical characteristics is underway. Meanwhile, extensions of known mineralization at Lama and Penelope (a satellite deposit of Lama) are being investigated. There are still a number of untested opportunities with potential to expand the resource and reserve base of both Lama and Veladero.

In the Salta Province of northern Argentina, Barrick has secured another earn-in option on a prospective property that has a silver resource but has been under-explored for gold potential. Four targets were identified on the property and will be followed up in 2021. Barrick continues to evaluate properties in the province with the view to building a large high-quality portfolio.

While the El Indio Belt has been a prolific generator of multiple world-class discoveries, short of a new greenfield’s discovery, the strategy is to build a critical mass of smaller deposits to create a mining complex capable of meeting Barrick’s criteria. Stepping further out, extensions of the belt are less explored and likely to have a different style of mineralization requiring different search criteria. This will be investigated.

In Southern Peru, we have confirmed the presence of gold mineralization in the Tumaruma project and are working to advance a drill program at Colpacota. Barrick has also applied for a large land position where the well-mineralized Jurassic mineral belt projects into Northern Peru. The area is known to contain several mineral occurrences but is underexplored compared to the more established mineral districts.

At Alturas-Del Carmen, drilling has started with the objective of testing shallow, high-grade mineralization that would impact the economics of the project, following up on a comprehensive and improved structural framework completed in 2020.

We have screened and evaluated five projects across the Guiana Shield since inception of the Reunion Strategic Alliance, and in late 2020, the first project from Suriname was included. The Guiana Shield remains of significant interest to us with similar geology and potential as the prolific West African craton.

The initial regional assessment program of the large portfolio of projects in Japan is advancing well. Geochemical sampling has been completed on the majority of the 29 Japan Gold Strategic Alliance projects with many anomalous catchment basins and rock samples identified. Further detailed investigation will be carried out upstream to identify the source of precious metals. As results of the geophysical and geochemical programs are received, we expect to identify new highly prospective areas in the major gold provinces of Japan and determine which of the properties will be retained and managed by Barrick.

 
Africa and Middle East

In Senegal on the Bambadji joint venture, a potential emerging discovery at Kabewest has been validated by deeper drilling. Surface geochemical sampling continues to expand and point to an extensively mineralized system. Meanwhile, deeper drilling is starting to prove there is a significantly mineralized source. Since the property is in the shadow of a world-class district, the program will be accelerated with shallow drilling on wide spacings to more quickly delineate the full extent of the system, to acquire some reliable geology data and point us to a bedrock source more quickly.

The Loulo District & West Africa Exploration Focus

The Loulo District & West Africa Exploration Focus

The Loulo district in Mali is still our most prolific generator of new ounces. The Loulo-Gounkoto complex again more than replaced depleted reserves last year, and there are big opportunities for more in both the Loulo and Gounkoto mining licenses. The first scout holes at Yalea Ridge could be pointing to an emerging discovery just beside the Yalea open pit, where abundant visible gold has been intersected in drilling and located within an area of extensive artisanal work. Mineralized veins are at a high angle to the overall trend of the rocks and determining the optimal drill angle is necessary prior to initiating a more extensive follow up program. The results so far are exciting and highlight the exploration potential of this Tier One asset.

Also at Yalea, high-grade extensions of the Transfer Zone continue. Scout drilling this year has now extended the shoot trend to over 650m beyond the 2019 block model. Thicker and higher grade zones are appearing down plunge of the Panel Zone and can be expected down-dip. Meanwhile nearby at Gounkoto, the Faraba structure has been extended 2.2km north of the Faraba complex and is now over 6km long.

At Mina, a new mineralized structure coinciding with a well-defined geophysical anomaly has been identified, extending at least 3km immediately south of the Gounkoto pit, which contains strong zones of alteration and quartz-sulphide veining in artisanal mine areas. Wide spaced reverse circulation drill sections are planned to expedite determination of open pit potential.

In Côte d’Ivoire, exploration continues to return strong results from multiple targets along strike from the Tongon mine, with the aim of extending the Life of Mine beyond 2023. The team is also evaluating targets across its regional portfolio in the country.

In the DRC, drilling 500m down plunge of the KCD orebody successfully confirmed the continuation of the folded Kibali mine sequence, with alteration and mineralization providing a framework for infill drilling from underground. Exploration continued at multiple targets along the KZ trend which hosts all the deposits on the project. In 2021, this work will include the testing of plunging high-grade lodes beneath the Kalimva and Pakaka deposits.

Kibali Mineral Reserves Grow & Central and East Africa Exploration Focus

Kibali Mineral Reserves Grow & Central and East Africa Exploration Focus

Much progress has been made at North Mara where the focus on getting a proper understanding of the geology is delivering exceptional results. North Mara has increased its mineral reserves net of depletion in 2020, while the substantial growth in resources indicates a significant potential for extending its Life of Mine. Near mine drilling is returning significantly better results compared to the previous resource model, and the Gena pit continues to show significant expansion potential. Work to date supports our regional-scale exploration model and has identified fertile porphyries in three key targets. Two of these targets, Shakta and Conjunction, warrant drilling later this year. Elsewhere in Tanzania, generative exploration has identified seven areas of interest within three principal mineral districts where Barrick has applied for almost 3,300km2 of tenements. If granted, we look forward to testing our new ideas and concepts to realize the full potential in what has been a relatively dormant and unexplored jurisdiction in the recent past.