Kibali, DRC — 25 September 2013 – The giant Kibali gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has officially poured its first bar of gold in a ceremony attended by Congolese officials including representatives from the provincial government and various ministries, the offices of the president and prime minister, traditional leaders, as well as executives of the parastatal SOKIMO and the joint venture partners Randgold Resources and AngloGold Ashanti.

The mine has been brought into production ahead of schedule after a massive operation which included the resettlement of more than 4 000 families to a new model village and the substantial upgrading of the local infrastructure. The construction process alone has required a team of more than 7 000 people on site at one time.

Randgold is developing and operating the mine which, with a projected annual production of some 600 000 ounces of gold, reserves of 11Moz and resources of 21Moz, will rank as one of the largest of its kind in Africa. The mine is being developed in two concurrent phases at an estimated initial cost of US$1.7 billion, starting as an open pit operation, with the underground mine, already well advanced and scheduled to access ore in 2015.

Speaking at the ceremony, Randgold’s general manager operations for Central and East Africa, Willem Jacobs, said that in line with Randgold’s partnership philosophy, the mine was destined to be an enormous economic boon to its Congolese stakeholders: the state, which has a 10% interest in Kibali through SOKIMO, the Province Orientale, where Kibali is located, and the local community.

“Over the lifetime of Kibali, approximately half of its profits will go to the DRC State in the form of royalties, taxes and dividends. By next year, it will be providing employment to more than 2 500 people on site, almost all Congolese nationals. More than half of its senior management are Congolese, while almost 100 Congolese have been trained as skilled operators at our West African mines. In addition to our locals-first employment policy, we also give preference to sourcing our goods and services from local suppliers, which spreads the economic benefit of our activities even wider,” said Jacobs.

Randgold’s capital projects executive, John Steele, said the successful development of Kibali was a tribute to Randgold’s experienced and multi-skilled team.

“This is the fifth major gold mine we have built in Africa and the lessons we have learned in the process have proved invaluable to us in bringing a project of this magnitude into production ahead of schedule and on budget. The support of the Congolese authorities and the local community has also been a major factor.”

“Important as this day is, it is still only the first step in achieving this project’s great potential,” added Kibali general manager Louis Watum. “With gold sales set to start next month, our focus is now on commissioning of the rest of the metallurgical plant and the hydropower stations as well as progressing the underground development.”

Source: Randgold Resources. For more information, click here.