MaliRandgold Resources is under way with a drill programme targeting orebody extensions is at the Loulou underground mine’s Yalea and Gara deposits, which form part of its flagship Loulo-Gounkoto complex in the west of Mali.

Despite a 5% decrease in combined quarterly gold production for the Loulo-Gounkoto complex, the mines produced a combined total of 129 233 oz. Loulo accounted for 71 065 oz , or 55%, of the total, while Gounkoto produced 58 168 oz, or 45%, Randgold Resources noted in its first quarter report ended March 31, 2015, released on Thursday.

Looking to increase reserves

The report indicated that deep drilling on both the Gara and Yalea deposits started in the March 2015 quarter with the aim of scoping out areas of inferred ounces which can be converted into indicated resources to replace mineral resources and ultimately ore reserves at the Loulo underground mine.

Additionally, Randgold is stepping out from the limits of the existing deposits to identify areas of new high grade ore.

Gara drill programme

At Gara the latest of three holes drilled into the target area to the immediate south of the block model confirmed the structure to be strongly altered and mineralised with a result of 6.8 m at 1.76 g/t (TW 5.47) from 683.2 m, including 3.25 m at 3.29 g/t from typical Garastyle mineralisation.

Drilling of a fourth drill hole is in progress which, if positive, would confirm the potential of this target area to be around 400 000 oz and would be targeted for conversion to inferred resources this year.

At the same time two holes at the base of the Gara deposit returned 5.30m at 5.28g/t from 909.5m for hole L0CP191 and 11.06m at 1.24 g/t in L0CP192, confirming again that the Gara system at depth is open and strongly mineralised and altered.

Yalea drill programme

Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow
Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow

Meanwhile, at Yalea, hole YaDH19 is testing the potential extension of the high grade ore in the south intersected 11.3 m at 12.1 g/t and will thus be followed up with further drilling this quarter, Randgold reports.

Drilling at depth in the centre of the deposit intersected 7.55 m of moderate mineralisation, while hole YaDH12 intersected 5.15 m at 3.08 g/t. Three other holes are still in progress, which are targeting mineralisation at down hole depths of between 900 m and 1 km.

“The first phase of conversion drilling at Yalea will provide us with added geological information to enable us to more accurately project target structures beyond the current limits of the deposit for testing in the second quarter,” Randgold said in the report.

Operation updates

Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow says the quarter had been a very active one, with the underground mine development at Kibali advancing ahead of schedule, the continuing expansion and upgrade programme at Tongon gold mine in Côte d’Ivoire delivering an improving performance, and Loulo moving towards full owner-operator status at its underground mines.

He says that a number of capital projects, including the construction of a second hydropower station and the commissioning of the paste backfill operation at Kibali, the medium voltage infrastructure upgrade at Loulo and the completion of the new crushing circuit at Tongon, are still in progress.

Overall results for the quarter

Overall production results indicate that Randgold Resources increased its profit from mining by 5% to $143.9 million in the quarter despite slightly reduced gold production of 279 531 oz, mainly as a result of planned lower grades.

Despite the production decrease, total cash cost per ounce came down to $708/oz, and the net cash generated by the operations increased from $69.3 million to $101.7 million for the quarter.

Bristow says that Randgold remains committed to increasing the size and at least maintaining the quality of its existing asset base, adding that traditional emphasis on exploration is being intensified and that the generative team had been strengthened to step up the hunt for the company’s next world-class discovery.

Top Stories:

Lonmin looks to cut workforce by 3 500 to reduce labour costs

African Copper: Deeper financial difficulty as it stops mining an Thakadu end May

Zambia power tariff must increase drastically to become cost reflective