Bamako, Mali, 9 November 2005 (LSE:RRS)(Nasdaq:GOLD) - London and Nasdaq listed gold miner Randgold Resources' new mine at Loulo yesterday shipped its first commercial consignment of bullion, a week ahead of schedule and four days before its official opening by Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré on 12 November.
The consignment of 8 710 fine ounces of gold, valued at some US$4 million, signals the successful completion of the mine's build-up to commercial production, a process which started when it poured its first gold on 28 September. The mine plans to ship bullion on a weekly basis from now on.
Chief executive Dr Mark Bristow said the first shipment was originally scheduled for mid-November but with gold stock accumulating at the mine it was decided to bring this forward. ""It's another major milestone for Loulo,"" he said. ""When you start earning revenue, you know you have a real business.""
While the open-pit operation at Loulo, which has been designed to produce more than 200 000 ounces of gold per year, is brought to full capacity, work also continues on the development of a complementary underground mine which will significantly increase the life and value of the Loulo project.
Loulo is the second world-class gold mine discovered and developed by Randgold Resources in Mali within five years. The first, Morila, has produced almost 3.5 million ounces of gold since it was commissioned in October 2000."