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Randgold’s Kibali mine aces first operating quarter

Randgold’s Kibali mine aces first operating quarter

Photo by Randgold Resources

21st January 2014

By: Henry Lazenby

Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

  

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VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – The Democratic Republic of Congo- (DRC-) based Kibali gold mine, which last month completed its first operating quarter, has more than met the objectives set for it at the time of its acquisition in September 2009, Africa-focused miner Randgold Resources CEO Mark Bristow said on Monday.

Bristow said that Randgold, which owns a 45% stake in the mine and is the operator, had the goals of defining the orebody’s full potential, redesigning the existing feasibility study, creating a supply line from Doko to the Ugandan border, securing the project area in partnership with the central and provincial governments, resettling more than 4 000 families from 14 villages in a new model town, and starting production in 2015.

“There were few people outside the Randgold management team and the DRC who believed that we could achieve this. But in short order we produced a blueprint for a much larger operation than originally envisaged, among other things increasing mineral reserves to 11-million ounces of gold, accelerating the construction programme and bringing first gold production forward to December 2013,” Bristow said.

He added that the enormous resettlement programme was completed successfully, construction went according to plan, the infrastructure was upgraded, openpit mining started, and with the oxide circuit of the metallurgical plant commissioned ahead of schedule, Kibali poured its first gold on September 24, with gold sales starting in October.

“This would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the Congolese authorities and the local community,” he noted.

However, Kibali is still a work in progress, with shaft sinking under way at the complex’s underground mine, the first of four hydropower stations due to be commissioned soon and the remaining sulphide circuit scheduled for completion at the end of the first quarter of 2014.

Kibali was nonetheless expected to exceed its gold output guidance for its first full quarter of operation, the three months to December, and meet its forecast of 550 000 oz for the current year.

Similar to all the other gold mines that Randgold had developed, Kibali was expected to also make a net profit in its first quarter.

Bristow said that in line with Randgold’s policy of giving employment preference to local people and other nationals of its host countries, 6 065 of the 7 660 workers on site at Kibali at the end of December were Congolese. Teams of locally recruited operators have been sent for training at Randgold’s other mines.

“This world-class gold mining complex we are developing at Kibali will make a major contribution to the DRC’s economy as well as a significant improvement in the local quality of life. As part of our resettlement programme, for example, we have built 14 schools, five medical centres, five markets, 29 chapels for various religious denominations and 70 km of road.

"The increase in local economic activity can be measured at the nearby Durba trade centre, where the population has grown from 10 000 to 50 000 people over the past three years,” Bristow said.

“To ensure that Kibali’s full benefit potential is realised; however, Randgold requires the continuing cooperation of its Congolese stakeholders and partners.

“Locally, for instance, the authorities are being encouraged to build the administrative capacity to manage the model town of Kokiza and its infrastructure. At the national level, government is urged to take care that its proposed revision of the mining code does not deter further investment in the development of the country’s mineral wealth and rather work with us and other investors to build on what we have all worked so hard to deliver,” Bristow said.

Randgold's Nasdaq-listed shares closed up $1.35 a share at $65.32 apiece on Monday.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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