London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 October 2010 – International gold mining and exploration company Randgold Resources “’ a London Stock Exchange and Nasdaq-listed business “’ aims to produce first gold from its Kibali project in the remote northeast of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in July 2013, six months earlier than planned.
“The official date is 2014, but the challenge that we have given ourselves and all our partners is: let’s try and bring it forward six months,” Randgold CEO Mark Bristow told reporters here, adding that the early start would rely on good state and community relations and early construction.
Randgold’s Kibali project, situated in the Orientale Province of the DRC, is a joint venture between Randgold and AngloGold Ashanti, which hold 45% apiece, with state-owned gold company OKIMO holding the remaining 10%.
The site has 13.93Moz of measured and indicated gold, according to Randgold, which said capital expenditure was likely to be between US$800 million (R5.5 billion) and US$1 billion (R6.8 billion).
“The initial estimate is around US$500 million (R3.4 billion) to start the mine,” said Bristow, adding that the venture required relocating 3 500 families from the mine, which would combine open-pit and underground mining over its 20 years or more.
Kibali is one of a clutch of gold projects in the DRC’s turbulent east expected to start producing in the next few years. It will mark a shift from the country’s traditional artisanal supply, most of which is smuggled, and boost official exports 15 times, according to ministry forecasts.
The DRC faces investor action in court cases across the world, after licences were handed to surprise new entrants in mining and oil deals, but Randgold said they were not deterred.
“If you want to hunt elephants, you have to go to elephant country,” said Bristow, emphasising the need to uncover the huge country’s mineral resources, much of which remained untapped.