Randgold Resources Kibali Gold Mine is on Track to Hit Production Target
African mining company Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) has announced its on track to meet the production target for its first full year at its Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project is expected to deliver 550,000 ounces of gold in 2014.
“The current focus is on ensuring that the metallurgical plant will achieve its designed throughput and recovery rates, and with the secondary sulphide circuit now being commissioned and optimized, we're almost there," said CEO Mark Bristow.
He added, "We have also completed the Nzoro hydropower facility, with the first two turbines running and the remaining two expected in the third quarter. The focus is now on synchronizing it with the diesel power plant.”
The Kibali gold mine, which officially opened two months ago, is a partnership with AngloGold Ashanti and the Congolese state-owned firm SOKIMO. As developer and operator, Randgold Resources owns 45 percent stake in the project with AngloAshanti owning 45 percent and SOKIMO owning the remaining 10 percent.
The current focus on the Kibali mine is synchronizing it with the diesel power plant and proceeding with open pit mining operations as planned. Development of the underground mine progressing nicely and the first ore has been accessed ahead of schedule.
"It's worth noting that despite the scale and pace of the on-site activities, Kibali is maintaining its exemplary safety record, with only one lost-time injury in the first six months of the year," the company said.
The Kibali mine is expected to showcase the potential success gold mining can have in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"The DRC's gold mining industry is still in its infancy and requires patient nurturing for its enormous potential to be fully realized," Bristow said.
"Kibali's success could be used as a foundation on which to encourage further investment and open a new mining frontier to rival the copper rich Katanga province, but only if the DRC maintains an investor-friendly fiscal and regulatory regime."
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is set to deliver six million tonnes of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”