Despite Randgold Resources lower Q1 gold production at 286 890 oz, the company has maintained its annual guidance of 1.30-1.35 Moz.
One LTI was recorded in the quarter, with a corresponding LTIFR of 0.3, compared with two LTIs (LTIFR of 0.61) in the previous quarter.
There was no major environmental incident during the quarter.
Randgold Resources Kibali gold mine produced 171 948 oz of gold in Q1 2018, up 2% from the last quarter and 22% from the same period in 2017. The continued rampup in underground, specifically the vertical shaft delivery enabled the higher production in line with the 2018 plan.
Total cash cost per ounce increased by 12% to $735/oz, reflecting the higher planned
strip ratios as the mine accessed the new Sessenge satellite pit, as well as the higher power costs associated with the increase in thermally generated power, during the seasonal low rainfall period and reduction in hydropower availability.
Profit from mining activity increased to $106.6 million in the current quarter, reflecting the improved gold sales and higher gold price received.
Kibali continued its fourth-year in partnership with the Garamba National Park through the funding of further infrastructure development including additional bridges to facilitate ranger access to remote areas of the park.
Community development during the quarter focused on education with teacher capacity building and youth vocational raining programmes initiated.
A community cocoa project was also introduced. The Gorumbwa resettlement is nearing completion with the installation of solar power in the households being the final stage.
Underground mining produced 768 kt of ore in Q1 2018 up 23% from the previous quarter. Ore delivery from the declines, decreased 45% to 278 kt, in line with the plan to shift production from trucking to the higher efficiency vertical shaft, which has now reached stable operation.
Ore tonnes hoisted through the vertical shaft increased by 313% quarter on quarter to 489 kt.
Kibali commissioned its automated materials handling system during the quarter and now has automated shaft and haulage level operation, facilitating the substantial increase in ore delivered from the shaft.
Further optimisation of the system will continue in Q2 to ensure improved efficiencies.
The intake works and river diversion for Azambi, the third new hydropower plant, have been completed with first power on schedule for mid-2018.
Construction of the next phase of the TSF to provide additional capacity for carbon in leach (CIL) tails, progressed during the quarter and remains on schedule for completion
in Q4 2018.
Capital expenditure for the quarter amounted to $45.4 million, mainly related to underground development, Azambi, ongoing capital including the TSF expansion ($11.0 million) as well as recognition of a deferred stripping asset
Kibali mineral resource and ore reserve update The KCD, Pakaka, Kombokolo, Pamao, Gorumbwa and Sessenge resource models were updated during the year with additional data, principally from grade control drilling and updated geological modelling Resource definition drilling identified gains in the Sessenge and KCD push back 3, which helped offset depletion from mining, bringing these pits forward in the mine plan.
Throughout 2017, extensive underground grade control drilling and mapping has continued underground in preparation for production ramp-up during 2018.
This resulted in significant increases in high confidence measured material with conversion drilling. The results of the drilling has predominantly confirmed the models, but with some changes in the deepest down plunge lodes including 9105 lode.
During 2018, the drilling programmes are planned to shift focus to define orebody extensions and mineral resource expansion with drilling on the 275L underground exploration drive planned to commence in August, to test the down plunge extensions of the 3000 and 5000 Lodes.
Further surface programmes are planned to test the 3 000 up plunge extension potential and economic viability of expanding the north side of the KCD pit.
The mineral resource and ore reserve base for Kibali at the end of 2017, with a comparison to figures at the end of 2016, is tabulated on the previous page.