The progress on these components at Kibali has been confirmed by Randgold Resources CEO, Mark Bristow. These projects will effectively deliver the giant mine to nameplate design, scheduled for later this year.
Bristow says that while Kibali is working towards delivering the underground mine, it is also maintaining a steady operational performance and, as reported at the end of the first quarter, was well positioned to meet its production target of 610 000 ounces of gold this year on the back of better grades forecast from the underground ramp up, particularly in the fourth quarter.
He also pointed to ongoing brownfields exploration that was showing potential to add resources and reserves going forward.
Bristow noted that since the project was launched in 2010, Kibali had contributed $2.2 billion to the Congolese economy in the form of taxes, salaries and payments to local suppliers.
Kibali started production in 2013 and has repatriated more than 40% of its gold sales revenue since first production in 2013, meeting and exceeding the requirements of the country’s mining code.
The government is currently again considering changes to this code and Bristow says this represents an unmissable opportunity to lay the foundations for a sustainable mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“I am concerned, however, that the government is not engaging in open and inclusive consultations with the industry and appears to be proceeding from a pre-determined position that may put existing and future mining investments at risk,” states Bristow.
“The mining industry is the main engine of the Congolese economy. Government and the private sector must work together to find the best way of growing this industry and to avoid potentially damaging short-term actions by realistically considering their consequences.”
Bristow adds that despite Randgold Resources’ concerns about proposed revisions to the mining code and other challenges in the DRC, it was continuing to invest in the country and, in addition to ongoing exploration along Kibali’s KZ structure, was progressing work on the Moku project and the Ngayu belt.
Randgold Resources is also investigating a number of other interesting opportunities and its commitment to the longer term is why it worried about ill-considered changes to the mining related legislation.
To complement Kibali’s extensive social responsibility programmes and projects, it was stepping up its regional engagement with stakeholders, civil society and local authorities on economic and infrastructural development in an effort to fill the void left by the current political impasse in the DRC.
The exemplary safety record at Kibali was recently marred when a Congolese contractor on the site experienced a driving accident resulting in a double fatality.
Bristow stated in response to the tragic accident that the mine had reinforced its efforts to maintain the highest standards and best practices in its safety programmes.
This included the comprehensive retraining of all employees and contractors.
Feature image credit: Randgold Resources