Bristow warns on Kibali gold mine – Don’t rock the boat! – by Lawrence Williams (Mineweb.com – January 21, 2014)

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Building the big Kibali gold mine in the DRC has been a remarkable achievement but Randgold CEO, Mark Bristow, warns against the status quo being adversely affected by possible future legislation.

LONDON (MINEWEB) – In a media presentation in Kinshasa, Randgold CEO Mark Bristow has set out the company’s achievement in bringing the big Kibali gold mine in the north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into production and highlighted some specifics.

Commenting, though, that this remains very much a work in progress as development continues, he also used the presentation to perhaps advise the DRC government not to tinker with possible forthcoming new mining legislation so as to undo the great work done in building the new mining operation with all the advantages it has brought to the area in which the mine is located and to the DRC in general.

“At the national level” Bristow commented, “government is urged to take care that its proposed revision of the Mining Code does not deter further investment in the development of the country’s mineral wealth and rather work with us and other investors to build on what we have all worked so hard to deliver.” In other words – ‘please don’t rock the boat!’

Indeed, bringing Kibali on stream in such a remote area of the country, and producing gold ahead of the original schedule, has been a great achievement by Randgold. As Bristow comments, there were perhaps few who really believed when the company started building the mine that it would be able to achieve its targets, let alone better them.

Randgold owns 45% of the project with a further 45% held by gold mining major AngloGold Ashanti and the balance in the hands of DRC parastatal mining company SOKIMO. To an outsider it might have been logical for the far bigger partner, AngloGold, to take the lead in constructing and operating the big new mine, but Randgold’s considerable experience in finding, developing and building new gold mining operations in remote parts of West Africa, together with its skills in working with African governments and local people meant that the partners tasked it with the job and it has certainly not disappointed.

Randgold’s clear goals from the start, Bristow noted, were to define the orebody’s full potential, redesign the existing feasibility study, create a supply line from Doko to the Ugandan border, secure the project area in partnership with the central and provincial governments, resettle more than 4,000 families from 14 villages in a new model town, and start production in 2015. “But in short order we produced a blueprint for a much larger operation than originally envisaged, among other things increasing mineral reserves to 11 million ounces of gold, accelerating the construction programme and bringing first gold production forward to December 2013”.

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