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Randgold Resources had one of the best years in its history of achievement and delivery in 2017, posting another production record off an already high base and pruning the cost of production to its lowest level in six years.

At the same time, the group continued to replace its attributable reserves and measured and indicated resources at the same or better grade, the company says in its annual report.

With profit for the year up 14%, cash and cash equivalents rising to $720 million and the company’s robust 10-year business plan firmly in place, the board was able to recommend a doubling of the dividend to shareholders.

Randgold Resources has increased its annual dividend ever since it declared the first one in respect of the 2006 financial year.

Chief executive Mark Bristow says Randgold Resources continues the hunt for its next world-class gold deposit through the expansion of exploration programmes in West and Central Africa and the evaluation of its potential next mine project at Massawa in Senegal.

At the same time, it is also examining global growth opportunities.

“Irrespective of any new projects, however, our 10-year plan shows us remaining profitable at a long term gold price of $1 000 per ounce and generating cash that will support significant investment in our future as well as the continued payment of dividends,” says Bristow.

Also in the annual report, chairman Christopher Coleman says despite challenges Randgold Resources remains committed to its partnerships with its host countries.

“The mutually beneficial relationships it has patiently forged with its host countries and communities are serving it well, and over the years the company has effectively dealt with the differences that inevitably arise in even the most well-intentioned partnerships,” he says.

“Randgold Resources is consequently confident that it is well-equipped to cope with the occasional turbulence in its operational climate.”