Barrick Gold, Tanzania's second-largest gold producer, has been lauded for its significant contributions to the country's socio-economic development. Since acquiring its North Mara and Bulyanhulu mines in 2019, the company has injected over $2.1bn into the Tanzanian economy.
The mines are highly regarded by both the government and local communities for their responsible business practices. Barrick Gold’s commitment to fostering growth in the local mining sector is further demonstrated through its partnership with PRISMA Training Solutions.

PRISMA is a professional training provider in Africa, specialising in the mining sector. With full Mining Qualification Authority (MQA) accreditation, PRISMA has successfully trained over 40,000 learners in mining, team, and supervisor development.

African excellence in mining

The partnership is driven by Jacques Farmer, managing director at PRISMA, and focuses on enhancing productivity, efficiency, and safety at both mining sites.

The collaboration between PRISMA and Barrick is setting new benchmarks for the African mining landscape. It exemplifies the continent’s capacity to offer exceptional training solutions.

Set to run over three phases, with at least a three to five-year view, the project began with a gap analysis encompassing technical training, compliance, safety measures, surface training, career development, and training planning, carried out in two distinct phases.

In the initial phase, the focus was on evaluating mine technical training, including competencies related to safety, compliance, technical skills, and career advancement for miners. The subsequent phase involved assessing surface training, soft skills, mineral processing, and plant operation training.

“This effort aligns with our resource management and human capital development strategies. We are moving forward toward the ultimate goal of transferring skills and competencies to the organisation’s internal training department. This will establish their efficiencies and effectiveness to eliminate the need to rely on external training providers from other African countries,” notes Farmer.

Now deep in the third phase, PRISMA has begun implementing the recommendations made in the first two phases that will set the wheels in motion for self-sufficiency.

Localisation policy

Barrick's localisation policy emphasises a workforce composed of Tanzanians, with 96% of employees being locals and the rest hailing from nearby communities. To align with this policy, PRISMA proposed conducting induction and initial training in Kiswahili, the local language, to enhance safety training accessibility and effectiveness.

The Women in Mining initiative champions diversity and inclusivity, with substantial impact. This initiative commenced by training 20 women from local communities to operate underground dump trucks over approximately six months. Their training encompassed a comprehensive understanding of the mining environment and culture, preparing them for potential mining careers.

The women trained under this initiative are well-positioned for employment in Tanzania's booming mining sector. The demand for mining skills has surged due to increased exploration activities, and the success of this initiative underscores the rapid expansion of women's representation in mining.

“While the Bulyanhulu operation currently has 6% female representation, the North Mara site has achieved quick progress with an 11% representation. This upward trajectory indicates positive advancement. Applying effective strategies from Bulyanhulu to North Mara exemplifies our commitment to further enhancing women's inclusion and participation in the mining industry,” explains Farmer.

Simulate real conditions

PRISMA utilises both underground and open-air mock mine environments, allowing trainees to simulate real working conditions safely, and bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. By interacting with lifelike simulations, miners can refine their skills, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities. This approach accelerates the learning process and boosts confidence.

The organisation’s e-learning platform is being updated, and this is being incorporated into training practices along with a psychometric assessment tool to assess learners' capabilities in different underground mining scenarios.

“This partnership serves as a testament to the profound impact of localised skills development within the African mining sector. It underscores the pioneering role of African suppliers, showcasing their ability to deliver world-class training interventions right on the continent," says Farmer

"This alliance stands as a transformative model, charting a path towards enhanced productivity, safety, and industry excellence for years to come."

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