- Consistent strategy delivers record results
- Randgold established as an African mining leader
- Foundations laid for next growth phase
The record results achieved in 2009, the most challenging year in the company’s history, have underlined Randgold’s growing stature as a leader in the African gold mining industry. They have also demonstrated again the crucial importance of a strategy focused on the long term creation of value rather than on seizing short term gains.
It was a year in which the gold price strengthened further, and while this contributed to the company’s performance, it is worth noting that, as the philosopher Seneca observed, if you do not know to which port you are sailing, even a favourable wind will not carry you there. Randgold has always had a clear vision of where it wants to go. Consequently it has been able to benefit fully from gold’s buoyancy at a time when much of the industry continued to grope for a way forward. That is why in 2009 Randgold was able to pluck some of the fruits of its past investments in the discovery and development of profitable gold projects, as well as in people and partnerships.
By the same token, we believe that the work done during the past year will deliver its rewards in times to come. As Mark Bristow details in his Chief Executive’s Review elsewhere in this report, in 2009 the foundations were laid, through organic development as well as acquisition, for the next stage in the company’s growth. At this raised level, Randgold’s horizons are being broadened significantly on every front: the geographical spread of its activities; its resource base and production profile; and the reach of its ambitions.
The extension of Loulo, the new mine taking shape at Tongon, the advanced projects at Gounkoto and Massawa, the expansion into the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, by no means least, the drilling rigs that continue to turn across Africa’s most prospective gold belts, are all designed to sustain Randgold’s profitable growth - and its ability to deliver value to all its stakeholders - far into the future.
This process is taking place in a complex operating environment and in markets which are regulated with increasing rigour. Here as well Randgold’s strategy-driven approach and the sound business principles which have been entrenched in its structures and systems serve it well, enabling the company to deal effectively with operational risk and to meet high standards of governance. In the latter regard, Randgold’s approach consistently has been to comply not only with the letter but with the spirit of regulation, incorporating this as a key component of its accountability to stakeholders.
The company, last year, also showed again that its exploration and operational expertise is matched by its corporate competence, executing the contested acquisition of Moto (one of the gold mining industry’s more complex M&A transactions) and the subsequent purchase of a further 20% interest for the joint venture in Moto’s Kibali project with well-ordered efficiency.
Randgold has grown in a relatively short time from a junior explorer to a substantial, integrated gold company which has a market capitalisation in excess of US$6 billion and is included in the FTSE 100 index. In line with its long term approach to all aspects of its business, the company has consistently invested in the development of its intellectual capital, building a balanced and versatile management team capable of dealing with the demands of growth - a team, in fact, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry. We apply the same principle of intellectual enlargement and renewal at board level, and in this regard have recently appointed Dr Kadri Dagdelen as a non-executive director. Dr Dagdelen is an eminent academic, who is a professor and departmental head at the Colorado School of Mines in the USA. His technical knowledge and industry experience will be a significant asset in our strategic direction of the company. The board has adopted a charter formally setting out its functions and responsibilities to spell out the accountability for the company’s performance and strategic direction.
The development of people and partnerships ranks alongside the discovery and exploitation of profitable gold deposits in the Randgold business philosophy. Central to this is the company’s belief that it should create value not only for investors but for all its stakeholders, and in particular its host countries.
Arising from this creed, and in line with its commitment to the long term, Randgold has a strong sense of responsibility to the countries and communities in which it operates. Extending far beyond the payment of taxes and the creation of employment, this is evident in everything the company does, from the initial social and environmental impact studies for a new project to the preparations for the closure of a mine. It also includes the provision of education and healthcare facilities as well as the improvement of basic infrastructure in what are generally impoverished areas. These initiatives, incidentally, are not imposed unilaterally but are devised and implemented in close consultation with the communities concerned.
The ideal model for successful and sustainable mining in Africa, as Randgold has often stated, is that of a partnership between the company, its investors and the host government. The results of the past year have again demonstrated how effective this can be. I would like to thank the governments, the mining authorities and the people of the countries in which Randgold operates for the contribution they made through the provision of their resources and the maintenance of an enabling environment. Our shareholders stood squarely behind us in the Moto acquisition and the equity placement, and I thank them as well for their continued support. I would like to place on record our appreciation of our joint-venture partners and our other business associates, advisors and suppliers. On a personal level I would firstly like to offer my thanks to Aubrey Paverd and Bernard Asher, who both retired at the last AGM, for their substantial contribution to the company in its formative years and secondly to express my gratitude for the strategic counsel of a board which is independent in its thinking and commands a wide range as well as a deep level of skills. Finally, on behalf of the board and all our stakeholders, I wish to pay tribute to Mark Bristow and the Randgold team for yet another accomplished performance.