Côte d’Ivoire – African gold major Randgold Resources is looking beyond its Tongon gold mine and stepping up its exploration effort in Côte d’Ivoire on the back of its positive new mining code, chief executive Mark Bristow said last week.

“The results are confirming our belief in the high potential of the country’s prospectivity,” he said.

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

Bristow says Tongon’s recovery rate was improving, despite the problems presented by the erratic grid power supply, which management was addressing with the power utility.

Following the commissioning of the new hydrocone crushers, work is continuing in conjunction with the equipment supplier to achieve the design performance level, and it has been decided to upgrade capacity by installing a fourth stage of three additional crushers at the end of the existing circuit.

Meanwhile, Randgold has taken a fresh look at its Nielle permit, which hosts Tongon, and a number of targets for follow-up have already been generated.

The most exciting suite of new targets is in the Boundiali permit. These include the very significant new target, Fonondara, and a series of other targets covering a strike of 60 km at the western margin of the Boundiali belt, believed to be an extension of the Syama belt in Mali.

“A first-phase diamond drilling programme is currently underway at Fonondara and Sani,” says Bristow.

At Fonondara, six trenches over a 1.5 km strike have exposed a system which averages 16 m at 2.96g/t. Drill results beneath the trenches have returned best results of 16.53 m at 3.38g/t including 7.40 m at 5.88g/t from the main zone and 8.83 m at 28.62g/t including 4.10 m at 61.05g/t in the footwall. Results from Sani are pending.

On the Mankono permit, a very promising bulk mining target has also been identified, with trenches grading up to 1.8g/t over widths of 100 m, and on the Fapoha permit, just south of the Nielle permit, three contiguous targets have delivered good initial sampling grades over a 13 km strike with consistently anomalous pits in the target structure grading up to 8g/t.

“We are very encouraged by the government’s commitment to building and diversifying the Ivorian economy, among other things by facilitating foreign investment. Combined with the country’s geological assets, this is creating new opportunities for the mining industry which Randgold, with its long-established presence here, is particularly well placed to grasp,” Bristow says.

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