Modern Mining

Randgold Resources’ operations in West Africa and the DRC delivered a robust all-round performance in the first quarter of 2017 to set the group on track to achieve its guidance for the year.

Randgold Hydropower

Ambarau, the second hydropower plant at Kibali in the DRC, was commissioned in February this year (photo: Randgold Resources).

Compared to the corresponding quarter in 2016, gold production was up 10 % at 322 470 ounces, profit increased by 33 % to US$84,9 million and total cash costs decreased by 4 % to US$619/oz. The group did not match the previous quarter’s record results, however, with gold production down 15 %, profit down 10 % and total cash costs up 13 % on this comparison.

Chief Executive Mark Bristow said the first quarter of the year was always a particularly busy one for Randgold and the past one had been no exception. Despite work stoppages that impacted operations at both the Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali and Tongon in Côte d’Ivoire, and the continuing ramp-up to full production at Kibali in the DRC, the group’s overall performance was its best for several years.

“Loulo-Gounkoto produced another solid operating quarter, marked by high recoveries, and Tongon delivered a steady performance, with good cost control. Kibali is tracking its guidance as it works towards the full commissioning of its underground operation later this year. Morila continued to optimise its tailings retreatment operation and is finalising approvals for the mining of its Domba satellite, provisionally scheduled to start in September this year,” he said.

During the quarter, Kibali – which is forecast to deliver approximately 610 000oz of gold this year – progressed work on its second new hydropower station which was commissioned in February.

Bristow noted that Randgold had succeeded in effectively replacing its reserves at a higher grade last year despite depletion by record production. Brownfields exploration is continuing to expand its existing asset base while its greenfields exploration teams are delivering exciting new prospects in line with Randgold’s aim of developing three new projects over the next five years.

Strong cash flows from its existing operations would support the company’s objective of sustainable profitability, reinforced by its ongoing exploration commitment, a 10-year business plan at US$$1 000/oz, and a robust balance sheet capable of funding new developments.

“The past quarter’s work stoppages, which disrupted our usually stable industrial relations climate, prompted us to take a fresh look at this aspect of our business and we are rolling out a potent internal campaign designed to ensure that the company’s distinctive DNA is fully shared by all who work here through fostering an inclusive culture of two-way communication and engagement that takes in all levels in the organisation,” Bristow said.

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