Gounkoto Convention marks new milestone in partnership with Mali
Bamako, Mali, 21 March 2012 ̶ The convention for Randgold Resources’ new Gounkoto mine in Mali was today signed here by Malian Minister of Mines Amadou Cisse and Randgold chief executive Mark Bristow.
Discovered in 2009, the 5.5 million ounce Gounkoto deposit began production in June 2011. It lay within Randgold’s Loulo concession, which also hosts the company’s flagship Loulo complex, and the ore from Gounkoto is toll treated at the Loulo plant, some 25 kilometres away. It was nevertheless agreed that the size of the Gounkoto deposit merited a standalone operation with its own fiscal regime and exploitation permit, as defined by the new convention and a separate company, Gounkoto SA, has been established to exploit the deposit. It is owned in the same proportions as Loulo, with Randgold holding 80% and the State of Mali 20%, and Randgold has funded the capital development cost of more than US$100 million.
“Both partners gain from the establishment of Gounkoto as a separate corporate entity. The State of Mali will be entitled to a preferential dividend while Randgold will enjoy an initial corporate tax exoneration of two years with an opportunity to extend this to five years in the event of further investment, like an underground mine,” Bristow said.
He noted that the Gounkoto convention was the latest milestone in the long and mutually beneficial partnership between the State of Mali and Randgold.
“This relationship dates back to 1996 when we acquired BHP Mali and with it our first mine in the shape of Syama. This was followed in 2000 with the commissioning of Morila, which not only provided the foundation on which Randgold was built but established Mali as a major gold-producing region. Then came Loulo, which is still growing, followed by Gounkoto, which together form a long-life, world-class gold mining operation,” he said.
“We bought Syama and developed Morila at a time when the gold price was at an all-time low and foreign investors were loath to look at West Africa. Thanks to our long term vision and strategy, and our confidence in the prospectivity and stability of Mali, the investments we made at that time are now producing handsome returns for all our stakeholders.”
Bristow pointed out that Randgold had over the years invested more than US$1 billion in Mali and had paid out a similar amount to the country’s government in the form of taxes, royalties and dividends. The company had created jobs for some 6 000 people and opened up economic opportunities for many more. “And we have by no means reached the limit of our ambitions here: our exploration teams are still out in the field, hunting for more world-class deposits.”
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