Randgold Resources’ new gold mine at Tongon in Côte d’Ivoire – nurtured as a project through a civil war and then successfully commissioned in the final quarter of 2010 during the post-election disturbances – represents a triumph of the company’s philosophy of partnering with its host countries, chief executive Mark Bristow said here today.
The volatile environment, the challenge of ramping up production while transitioning from oxide to sulphide ore treatment and complexities which arose in the changeover from diesel to grid power affected production. Additionally, a failure of the barring gear on the No1 mill in November led the company to revise its 2011 production guidance and the mine ended its first full year as a fully stabilised operation on track to achieve the planned average of 270 000 ounces per year going forward. Developed at a cost of some US$400 million, it is the biggest mine in Côte d’Ivoire as well as one of the largest private-sector investments in that country. It has 90 tonnes of gold reserves and an estimated 10-year life.
“When we invest in a new mine, we are also investing in the country where it is located and in that country’s people,” Bristow said. “The value we demonstrably deliver to these stakeholders builds strong and mutually beneficial relationships. It is these relationships that enabled us to develop and commission Tongon in the face of many obstacles.”
He noted that of the 410 people employed at Tongon by Randgold, 382 were Ivorian, many of them recruited from nearby villages, while the contractors’ complement of 773 included 727 national personnel.
“As a matter of principle we employ a very high proportion of local nationals wherever we operate, and we insist that our contractors do the same. This not only creates employment in remote and often deprived areas, but also transfers valuable skills which will open up future opportunities for these people,” he said.
Bristow cited the cooperation between Randgold and the Ivorian power utility as another example of partnership in action. Tongon has now been plugged into the national power grid, making it the first Randgold mine which does not have to rely on self-generated electricity. Access to this power is a significant cost advantage to the mine, but the roll-out of the grid into the north of the country also benefits the local communities.
“Mining in Africa should be about sustainability and not short-term gain. That’s why Randgold’s growth strategy is a long-term one, focused on creating lasting value for all its stakeholders,” he said.
RANDGOLD RESOURCES ENQUIRIES:Chief ExecutiveMark Bristow+44 788 071 1386 / +223 66 75 01 22 Financial DirectorGraham Shuttleworth+44 1534 735 333 / +44 779 771 1338
Group Operations Manager:West AfricaSamba Touré+223 66 75 77 41 / +223 20 20 16 94 Investor & Media RelationsKathy du Plessis+44 20 7557 7738 / firstname.lastname@example.org
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this news release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the US Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the future price of gold, the estimation of mineral reserves and resources, the realisation of mineral reserve estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production, costs of production, reserve determination and reserve conversion rates. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as ‘will’, ‘plans’, ‘expects’ or ‘does not expect’, ‘is expected’, ‘budget’, ‘scheduled’, ‘estimates’, ‘forecasts’, ‘intends’, ‘anticipates’ or ‘does not anticipate’, or ‘believes’, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results ‘may’, ‘could’, ‘would’, ‘might’ or ‘will be taken’, ‘occur’ or ‘be achieved’. Assumptions upon which such forward-looking statements are based are in turn based on factors and events that are not within the control of Randgold and there is no assurance they will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Randgold to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: risks related to the integration of Randgold and Moto, risks related to mining operations, including political risks and instability and risks related to international operations, actual results of current exploration activities, conclusions of economic evaluations, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled ‘Risk Factors’ in Randgold’s annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2010 which was filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the ‘SEC’) on 31 March 2011. Although Randgold has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Randgold does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws. CAUTIONARY NOTE TO US INVESTORS: The SEC permits companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only proven and probable ore reserves. We use certain terms in this release, such as ‘resources’, that the SEC does not recognise and strictly prohibits us from including in our filings with the SEC. Investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any parts of our resources will ever be converted into reserves which qualify as ‘proven and probable reserves’ for the purposes of the SEC’s Industry Guide number 7.