Barrick Gold, the world’s second-largest gold miner, has announced plans to expand its copper exploration activities in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The company’s CEO, Mark Bristow, said on Friday that Barrick is looking to explore for copper deposits in southern DRC, as well as extend and enhance the operations of its Lumwana mine in Zambia.
“We are looking at exploration opportunities across the country just as we are looking for exploration opportunities in southern Congo,” Bristow said.
Lumwana is one of Barrick’s largest copper mines, and it currently produces about 267,000 metric tons of copper per year. Bristow said that Barrick plans to invest more in the mine in order to make it a tier one asset, which is a classification used by the mining industry to denote mines that are large, profitable, and have a long lifespan.
Barrick is also considering extending the life of Lumwana to 2060. The mine is currently expected to operate until 2035.
Zambia is Africa’s second-largest copper producer, after DRC. The country’s copper industry is a major source of income and employment.
Barrick’s expansion plans in Zambia and DRC come at a time when the global copper market is booming. The price of copper has more than doubled in the past five years, and it is expected to continue to rise in the coming years.
The CEO refrained from providing a direct response to market speculation regarding Barrick’s interest in First Quantum Minerals, but he did emphasize that the company would adopt a prudent and careful approach when considering any potential deals within the sector.