Bamako, Mali, 16 October 2006 (LSE:RRS)(Nasdaq:GOLD) - Mali's currently burgeoning gold mining industry requires reinvestment from the mining companies as well as the Mali government if it is still to thrive in 10 years' time, says Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow.
Speaking at an open day at the company's Morila joint venture, Bristow noted that mining constantly needed to replenish the sources of the gold it produced, and also had to expand its intellectual base to cope with the challenges presented by an increasingly complex business.
"Randgold Resources believes the best way for the industry to create value for all stakeholders, including its host countries, is through discovery and development. It was our discovery of the Morila deposit that created a mine that since 2000 has produced more than four million ounces of gold, generated total cash profits of more than US$900 million and contributed FCFA 334 billion (US$636 million) to the Malian economy. While Morila is now entering the last stage of its life, it still has a number of profitable years ahead of it, and we are still exploring with some success around the fringes of the deposit and beyond," Bristow said.
"It was our belief in Mali's prospectivity, coupled with the productive partnership we have forged with its government and people, that gave us the confidence to reinvest substantially in this country. Last year, we opened a new mine at Loulo and tomorrow, the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water, His Excellency Hamed D. Semega, will officially launch the development of an underground mine to complement the two existing open-cast operations there. Loulo will eventually be four mines in one, and a true world-class gold project."
Bristow noted that Randgold Resources was continuing to explore extensively at and around Morila and Loulo.
"We are also committed to nurturing and empowering local management. Our general manager for Mali, our financial controller and the general manager at Loulo are all Malian nationals. In addition, we have taken the lead in such initiatives as the establishment of the KankouMoussa gold bank to provide a service to artisanal producers and local jewellers," Bristow said.
"During the last couple of years Randgold Resources directly reinvested more than US$150 million in Mali. It's an investment we believe will not only benefit ourselves but also our partners, the government and people of Mali. While we are happy to show the way, we believe it is important for all concerned to understand that securing a sustainable future for Mali's gold industry will require a commensurate commitment from the other gold companies here, as well as from government."