London, 7 August 2014 - Another record production quarter from its flagship Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali has set Randgold Resources up at the halfway mark to achieve its guidance for the year. At the same time, the developing Kibali mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo remained on track to reach its forecast target despite commissioning disruptions.
Group gold production of 277 283 ounces for the second quarter was down 2% on Q1’s record output but 41% ahead of last year’s corresponding quarter. Cost per ounce rose by 2% to US$701 on the previous quarter but was 12% down on Q2 in 2013. Profit from mining of $162.3 million decreased by 5% from the previous quarter but was up 54% on the corresponding quarter in 2013.
Loulo-Gounkoto produced 174 052 ounces, up 3% on Q1, and the third quarter in a row that the complex has posted a record production number. In other significant developments, the paste backfill plant at the Yalea underground mine was commissioned, enabling miners to harvest almost 100% of the high grade zones. The complex’s energy cost reduction programme continued to evolve with the installation of two more medium speed generators, due for commissioning in the second half of the year, capable of running on less expensive heavy fuel oil.
The fledgling Kibali operation produced 91 137 ounces of gold against the previous quarter’s 112 549 from its open pit mine. The decrease was due mainly to a drop in recoveries and throughput while the plant was processing tricky transitional ore during the commissioning of the sulphide flotation and concentrate treatment circuit. Development of the underground mine continued to make good progress. The 5000 lode orebody has been intersected as planned and stoping is scheduled to deliver additional ore to the mill in the fourth quarter of this year. The construction of the hydropower stations is also progressing, with the first two of four turbines at the Nzoro station operational by the end of Q2.
Production at Tongon in the Côte d’Ivoire continued to be impacted by equipment issues in its crushing circuit but supplier Sandvik is currently replacing the underperforming Vibrocone crushers with conventional Hydrocone crushers, and the mine’s performance is expected to improve steadily through the second half of the year, with the plant operating at or near its design throughput capacity by year end. The Morila retreatment operation in Mali also recorded lower production and higher cost numbers as it adjusted to the pit pushback project.
On the exploration front, ongoing drilling has confirmed the potential for orebody extensions at Loulo and Gounkoto, and the feasibility studies on a Gounkoto underground mine and the Gorumbwa open pit continue to progress.
“Exploration remains the engine that drives our business and even while we’re bedding down Kibali, we’re already hunting for our next big discovery across our extensive and expanding permit portfolio,” said chief executive Mark Bristow.
“Meanwhile, this quarter’s results have again demonstrated the value of a well-balanced asset inventory, with Loulo-Gounkoto stepping up to the plate while Kibali is still a work in progress and Tongon works through its technical challenges.”