Mark Bristow,
CEO, Randgold
 
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire — MININGREVIEW.COM — 20 July 2009 – Development of International gold mining and exploration company Randgold Resources Limited’s new gold mine at Tongon in the Côte d’Ivoire is on track for first production in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Speaking at a media day here, chief executive Mark Bristow said work on site had stepped up a gear with the start of the major civil programmes for the process plant. Excavation had been completed and some 1 000m³ of a project total of 27 000m³ of concrete had already been poured.

He added that mechanical work on the CIL tank assembly had started, and the earthworks were also progressing with the completion of the first phase of the main water storage dam. The dam was a major structure which, when completed, would have a capacity of 24 million m³ and supply the mine’s total water requirement.

Bristow said the Tongon project represented the triumph of patience and perseverance over considerable adversity, and reflected the company’s long-term focus on the discovery and development of sustainably profitable gold projects, as well as its partnership approach to host countries.

“Tongon was in fact one of our early discoveries and it was in line for development before our Loulo complex in Mali, which has now been in production for several years.  The intervention of a period of civil unrest forced us to delay it, but throughout that trying time we never lost confidence in the project or the country. We maintained our presence there, stayed in touch with the various authorities and monitored the situation closely. Our experience in managing Africa’s often dynamic environments stood us in good stead in these circumstances, and last year we could see that the time was right to move ahead with the project,” Bristow added.

“Tongon is now a plus 3 million ounce deposit, and continuing exploration is focused on expanding its resource base further. Together with our other holdings in the country, it gives us a strong foothold in Côte d’Ivoire, a highly prospective region which boasts one of the best infrastructures in West Africa and is rapidly returning to normality,” he said. “We believe it will more than justify our decision to make a substantial investment here “’ the mine is being built at a capital cost of US$280 million (R2.3 billion) “’ and will in time also make a significant contribution to Côte d’Ivoire’s full recovery from the years of conflict,” Bristow concluded.