Randgold Resources’ Loulo-Gounkoto gold mining complex in Mali is stepping up production following the start of the pushback at Gounkoto’s new super pit with increased grades expected in the third and fourth quarter of the year.
Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow says that, as guided, the complex’s production profile was weighted towards the back half of the year because of the big pushback’s impact in the first two quarters. It is now getting back to its normal run rate and there has been an increase in production in the third quarter.
Randgold Resources GM operations for West Africa Chiaka Berthe says that brownfields exploration on the orebody extensions is confirming the potential for the complex to keep replacing depleted reserves with ounces of the same quality.
“Loulo-Gounkoto is one of the largest operations of its kind in the world and has been a pillar of the Malian economy since Loulo went into production in 2005. The latest exploration results show that its life is likely to extend beyond the current 10-year horizon,” Berthe says.
Further afield, the greenfields exploration team continues to build out targets to the north and south of the Loulo-Gounkoto structures along a 70 km strike in one of the world’s most prolific gold regions.
Elsewhere in Mali, Randgold Resources has entered into discussions on a potential joint venture with the government to explore a regional area of interest to develop a detailed geological dataset. In terms of the proposal, Randgold Resources will have first choice of identified prospects and the rest will be made available to the government to attract other investors. The process will offer some private holders of rights in the area the opportunity to become potential equity partners in new ventures.
Bristow says that a mediation process is underway to reach an amicable settlement of the Randgold group companies’ tax and TVA issues with the government through a jointly appointed facilitator and third-party experts. “This again demonstrates that our constructive partnership approach is the best way to resolve occasional disagreements with our host governments,” he says.