(REUTERS) -- Randgold Resources expects its Tongon gold mine in northern Ivory Coast to produce more than 270,000 ounces in 2012, after falling short of the 270,000 ounces target in 2011, chief executive Mark Bristow said on Friday.

Randgold, which began operations in Tongon in 2010 but officially inaugurated the mine in October, had expected output to hit the targeted 270,000 ounces by the end of last year.

But the west Africa-focused miner said a perfect storm of difficult mining conditions including work stoppages and a mill breakdown at the mine, pushed it to cut its 2011 production target twice.

For 2012 we are very confident. We will exceed 270,000 ounces of production, Bristow said, adding that the cost of production would range from $500 to $550 per ounce.

He said that after 2012, output would average around 264,000 ounce over nine years.

Production for 2011 will be slightly lower than the forecast 270,000 ounces due to the problems, Bristow told Reuters on the sideline of a news conference aimed at presenting the firm's 2011 activities in the country.

He said accurate figures for 2011 would be available Feb 6.

In his outlook for the gold market, Bristow said there was more upside potential for gold prices.

Spot gold was trading at $1,659 an ounce at 1640 GMT. The precious metal has had a strong start to the year, rising more than 5 percent so far after a sharp price drop in December.

Randgold shares were down 1.67 percent at 7055 pence, underperforming a 0.93 percent fall in the broader UK mining sector.