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Randgold reports higher profit, expands DRC presence

4th February 2013

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

  

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – London- and New York-listed Randgold Resources on Monday reported a 16% increase in profit for the 2012 full-year to $510.7-million, compared with the $441-million profit recorded the year before.

Basic earnings a share rose 12%, from $4.20 in 2011, to $4.70.

The group also proposed to declare – subject to shareholder approval – a 25% higher dividend for the year at 50c.

Meanwhile, gold output for 2012 increased to 794 844 oz, compared with the 696 023 oz of gold produced the year before, as the company’s flagship Loulo-Gounkoto complex, in Mali, produced over half-a-million ounces for the period – exceeding its production target.

The Loulo mine achieved gold production of 503 224 oz, up from the 346 179 oz reported in the prior period on the back of the accelerated development of the Yalea and Gara underground mines and a ramp-up in plant throughput following the successful commissioning of a third mill.

The operation sold 502 451 oz, generating revenue of $832-million, compared with the 347 386 oz sold and the $549-million in revenue generated in 2011.

The Morila joint venture (JV), in Mali, also beat forecasts with a production of 202 513 oz of gold for the year – above the production guidance of 165 000 oz.

The group’s production performance in Mali, however, was offset by grid power supply challenges, resulting in frequent outages, at the Tongon mine, in Côte d’Ivoire.

Tongon production, which fell from 250 390 oz in 2011, to 210 615 oz in the year ended December 2012, was further impacted on by a December fire at the mine’s milling circuits.

The plant was restored to full production by the end of January, while the company’s power challenges were dealt with through the installation of additional generating capacity.

Randgold also aimed to stabilise and reduce energy costs across its operations, including Tongon, Morila and Loulo, and move to using renewable-energy power sources.

At the Kibali mine, construction of the first of four run-of-river hydroelectric generating stations was currently under way. The mine’s energy generation, which would eventually comprise a mix of high-speed diesel-generated and hydro power, was expected to cost about $0.10/kWh.

Meanwhile, the group sold 793 852 oz of gold for the period under review, generating $1.3-billion in revenue, compared with the 718 762 oz sold and $1.1-billion revenue recorded in the prior year.

DRC EXPANSION
The verification of Randgold’s potential new gold exploration project in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was expected to start soon.

The gold-mining company, in efforts to boost its Central African footprint, aimed to explore and develop a 2 056 km2 area on the Northern Ngayu and Isiro greenstone belts through a new JV with TSX-listed Kilo Goldmines (KGL).

A team, which was sent to the DRC to assess, besides others, the geology of the region, its known gold occurrences, its topography and the area’s access and infrastructure, had kicked off the initial exploration phase of reviewing the existing available information and complete a preliminary interpretation of the geology and potential target areas, said Randgold CEO Mark Bristow.

The company believed the infrastructure established by the current activities of KGL and Randgold’s Kibali mine in the area would, in conjunction with the regional infrastructure in the town of Isiro, provide support for the development activities of the project.

Randgold, which entered a 51:49 partnership with KGL for the exploration in December, would complete a prefeasibility study within the next five years.

Randgold could increase its interest to 65% should it fully fund the bankable feasibility study; however, should KGL choose to cofund the final study, it would retain its 49% stake.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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