Tongon core in the
foreground – project
offices in the
background
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 May 2008 – International gold mining and exploration company Randgold Resources has reported a material increase in the probable reserves at its Tongon project in Cote d’Ivoire, currently in the early stages of development as the company’s third gold mine in west Africa.

In releasing its result for the quarter ended 31 March 2008, the company revealed that a further conversion of the increased resources recently published in its annual report – which showed an indicated resource at Tongon of 41.96Mt @ 2.37g/t for 3.2 Moz, and a further 12.99Mt @ 2.56g/t for 1.07 Moz in the inferred category – has produced a 52% increase in the probable reserves. These now stand at 32.76Mt @ 2.32g/t for 2.44 Moz. The ore reserve estimate is based on US$550/oz with a cut-off grade of 1g/t, and the numbers include dilution and ore loss.

Randgold also revealed that during the quarter an agreement had been concluded with Randgold Resources’ joint venture partner in Cote d’Ivoire, New Mining CI, to increase Randgold’s interest in the joint venture to 90%. Consequently – after providing for the Government’s 10% free participation as per the mining code – Randgold now owns an effective 81% interest in the Tongon project.

The results statement added that a small proportion of inferred resources remained within the pit design, and as such has not been declared as reserve. It involved a total of 5.46 Mt at a grade of 2.13 g/t for a total of 370 000 oz. Infill drilling continues to upgrade these resources to the indicated category, and it is intended to convert these to reserves by the third quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, drilling to delineate high-grade shoots and to test the continuation of the mineralised structure at depth has been completed at the base of the northern zone pit. In the southern zone, drilling has indicated better intercepts associated with the intersection of the braided shear system, and this will be the focus of follow-up exploration. These results will be included in the updated resource and reserve declaration in the third quarter.

Chief executive Mark Bristow said that, as expected, Tongon had now exceeded the 2 Moz reserve mark.

"We are very positive about the prospectivity of this area, and believe there is still scope for further growth in the resource base. Here, as elsewhere in the six countries where we operate, exploration continues to build our reserves, enabling us to forecast increased production at a time when industry output is shrinking," he concluded.