Jersey, Channel Islands, 28 March 2017 – Randgold Resources’ annual resource and reserve declaration, published today as part of its annual report for 2016, shows attributable proved and probable reserves down by 1% after another record production year. Total attributable resources of 25.5 million ounces were down 8%, reflecting mining depletion and changes to the method of reporting underground resources at Kibali.
The group’s reserve grade, however, increased from 3.6g/t to 3.7g/t and chief executive Mark Bristow said this showed that Randgold has been able to replenish ounces at grades above or equal to its reserve base despite the high depletion rate from mining.
“This means our current reserves have secured our business plan for at least 10 years of profitable production. In the meantime, our exploration teams continue to hunt for additional ounces to replenish these reserves as well as for our next big discovery,” Bristow said.
Group general manager evaluation Rod Quick noted that Randgold continued to base its reserve calculations at a gold price of $1 000/oz which, coupled with its emphasis on quality over quantity, gave it a robust reserve profile which would enable the company to continue managing the cyclical nature of the gold market.
In Mali, Loulo’s total ore reserves after depletion increased by 12% to 5.3 million ounces at 4.5g/t as further drilling and design work resulted in an increase of 520 000 ounces to the Gara ore reserves with the incorporation of Gara Far South. Infill grade control gains at Yalea resulted in a partial replacement of depletion ounces. Total mineral resources increased by 1%, net of depletion, driven by an increase of 461 000 ounces in Gara underground’s inferred resources. At neighbouring Gounkoto, total ore reserves net of depletion remained above 3 million ounces year on year. This was largely due to the completion of the Gounkoto super pit feasibility study, leading to a significant gain in the open pit ore reserves and the associated reduction of the underground reserve.
At Kibali, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, total reserves decreased to 9.2 million ounces at 4.0g/t from 10.6 million ounces at 4.1g/t in 2015 following mining depletion and changes to the KCD underground geological model. The changes resulted from the reinterpretation of the controls to mineralisation of the high grade lodes following a significant increase in mapping and grade control data. Although the remodel has resulted in geological model changes of a portion of the 5103 and 9105 lodes, it has also highlighted the upside potential of the up and down plunge extension of the 3000 lodes as an underground target. Mineral resources are also down due to mining depletion, geological model changes and a change in the method of underground resource reporting which has been aligned with industry best practice using stope optimiser software to report underground resources.
In Côte d’Ivoire, Tongon’s resources and reserves decreased as a result of depletion and geological changes to the Northern Zone orebody following reinterpretation of the granodiorite contact boundary at depth after additional surface drilling. Drilling continues to probe for potential gains within and immediately below the current pit designs. The first of a number of satellite pits, Sekala, was brought into the resource statement which added 43 000 ounces of indicated resource. Further satellites will continue to be tested in the coming year.
In Senegal, the key development project Massawa saw an increase of total reserves at a 40% higher grade. The increase in reserve ounces follows the incorporation into the project of 475 000 ounces from the Sofia Main deposit, while the increase in grade was driven principally by the geological remodelling of the Central Zone ore lodes. Total reserves now stand at 2.6 million ounces at 4.3g/t, up significantly from the last year’s 2.0 million ounces at 3.1g/t. Drilling continues on the Massawa and Sofia deposits to increase ounces. Total mineral resource ounces are down 400 000 ounces year on year, principally due to the geological remodelling and higher cost profile of Sofia and Massawa, leading to the reduction of low grade ounces.