JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – More than half of the management team of Randgold Resources' new Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are Congolese, a continuation of the London-listed company’s policy of appointing nationals to management positions.
Randgold Resources CEO Dr Mark Bristow tells Mining Weekly Online that building national management teams has been one of the most important contributions to the company’s success in Africa.
The policy, he adds, has paid handsome dividends in Mali, where Randgold continued to surprise on the upside in the latest quarter in spite of the recent coup d’etat.
The policy was also emphasised in last month’s elevation of Malian national Chiaka Berthé to the position of GM of the flagship Loulo complex.
“We have a strict policy of local recruitment, so these mines are run by management teams consisting almost entirely of the nationals of the countries in which they are located. Expatriates are used largely to transfer skills,” says Bristow.
The company is taking full advantage of the abundance of mining skills available in the DRC, where Kibali is destined to produce at a rate of 600 000 oz of gold a year.
“What we’re doing is building a dream for the people because they remember what it used to be like when the Belgians were mining there when they were not part of it and this time they are,” Bristow comments.
The first openpit phase to bring Kibali into production by the end of 2013 will require a capital expenditure (capex) of $920-million and the second underground phase is scheduled to be in steady state in 2015 at an additional capital cost of $620-million, totalling $1.54-billion.
However, peak funding will be at a lower $1.25-billion, owing to the project entering a self-funding cash-flow phase in early 2014.
Randgold owns 45% of the project, which it is developing and which it will operate.
The company posted a profit of $104-million for the first quarter of 2012, which was up 126% on the corresponding quarter in 2011 while production of 165 443 oz increased by 19% year-on-year.
However, in line with guidance, both figures were down by 28% and 13% respectively on the previous quarter’s record results.
Group operating costs of $667/oz were in line with those of the previous year, and the cash on the balance sheet of $457-million remained substantial despite significant capex during the quarter.
Randgold’s’ performance in the midst of political upheavals in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire have demonstrated again that the company knows what it takes to succeed in Africa.
“Our growth and profitability have given us a strong balance sheet which provides us with the means to self-fund our expansion projects and new developments. We don’t need to finance them through borrowing or by issuing paper,” adds Bristow.
It has a philosophy of partnership with the governments and people of its host countries and last month handed over 40 t of rice and 20 t of millet to the Red Cross for distribution in the troubled northern area of Mali.