JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – African gold mining company Randgold Resources is looking across the Atlantic along the northern edge of South America, which effectively hosts the same geology as West Africa, where the London-listed company has its biggest gold-mining base.
This is in addition to intensifying exploration efforts in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Randgold’s geologists are building geological models and the area covering northern Brazil, Surinam, French Guiana and British Guyana and Venezuela, is on the company’s watch list.
“It’s exactly the same geology as West Africa,” Randgold CEO Dr Mark Bristow, who recently visited the area, told Mining Weekly Online.
“Right now, Venezuela is a no-go area, but the geology is pretty good,” Bristow noted.
The six-mine company’s star performer in the three months to June 30 was the Kibali mine, in the DRC, where costs have been lowered 11% to $651/oz through three hydropower plants that provide lower cost energy to the operation.
The third hydropower station at Azambi has been built by an all-Congolese team.
The hydropower plants and the employment of Congolese contracting companies reflect Randgold’s optimal way of extracting mineral wealth for the DRC, where DRC’s ruling coalition this week finally put an end to years of speculation by announcing that President Joseph Kabila, who has headed the country since 2001, does not intend to seek re-election for a third, unconstitutional term and will step down.
His former Interior Minister and Secretary General of the ruling party, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary will represent the ruling coalition, the Common Front for Congo (FCC), strategy and communications consultancy Africapractice stated in a note.
While there is a certain degree of inevitability in Shadary’s victory, who benefits from the state apparatus and a giant electoral platform, there is also an opportunity for a populist alignment of opposition actors to exploit the FCC candidate’s weak support, the consultancy commented.
The first hydropower station was led largely by South African and European hydropower specialists, the second hydropower station involved main contractors subcontracting to a number of Congolese enterprises, and the contract for the third station was awarded to the Congolese enterprise Inter Oriental Builders.
“They’ve done good job. Azambi was on time and on budget; the other two were not, and therein lies a message,” said Bristow. (See picture taken at opening).
“This company now knows how to build run-of-river power stations and we’re saying to the government that they can provide an energy solution for the remote areas of the DRC,” he added.
The water power of Africa is helping to lower the cost of doing business on the continent – and providing work for the people of Africa.
At the same time, Randgold remains a gold mining company with the highest earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. Bloomberg figures show its dividend yield to be the highest in the industry and its dividend growth the highest in the past 12 years.
It has an experienced management team that continues to pursue opportunities that lift share value.
The company has kept its full-year guidance on production and costs intact at between 1.3-million to 1.35-million ounces with total cash costs of between $590/oz and $640/oz, compared with total cash costs of $708/oz recorded at the interim stage.
It is continuing to negotiate with the DRC government on the new mining code, and has had fruitful negotiations with the Malian government, which has agreed to grant Gounkoto mine a 50% corporate tax reduction for the next four years to support the development of a super pit, which will be one of the largest opencast gold mines in Africa.
The agreement is a concession under Gounkoto’s original mining convention that allowed Gounkoto to apply for additional tax relief, should it make additional investments to extend mine life.
Likewise, the super pit will make a significant contribution to the Loulo-Gounkoto complex’s ten-year plan, which envisages profitable production of more than 600 000 oz/y at a gold price of $1 000/oz, the level at which the company bases all profitable developments.
Depending on the gold price and input costs, the potential revenue to the State is lifted significantly above that of the original Gounkoto feasibility study completed in 2009.
The company ensures that it floats all stakeholder boats and that is why it is able to gain the support of host governments and near-mine communities.