Randgold Resources has signed three joint venture agreements with other miners in Congo to explore potential gold deposits in the country’s northeastern region.
The move came following the success of Randgold’s Kibali Development Project and now brings the miner’s groundholding in Congo to 6 539km², covering most of the Ngayu greenstone belt in addition to the Randgold managed Kibali JV on the Moto belt. The new joint ventures are Loncor Resources’ Ngayu project, Kilo Goldmines’ Somituri permits and Devon Resources’ permit package, also in the Ngayu belt.
“Despite the challenging market conditions currently facing the gold mining industry, Randgold continues to invest in its future, in line with its strategy of creating value for all its stakeholders through the discovery of world-class gold deposits and their development into profitable mines,” Mark Bristow, chief executive of operator Randgold Resources, said on Tuesday.
“We believe the north-eastern DRC holds a rich potential for such discoveries, and we trust the country’s government will partner us in our drive to develop a major gold mining frontier there, among other things by ensuring that the current negotiations about a new mining code result in one that will justify the capital already spent and attract further investment,” he said.
Kibali and other new gold mines in Congo have boosted the country’s gold output from near zero in 2011 to an expected 26 tonnes in 2015.
Randgold mined its first gold from Kibali in 2013 and was likely to exceed its 2015 production target of 600,000 ounces. Bristow said the continuing expansion of the mine was also on target, with the development of its underground operation still ahead of schedule. The second of its hydropower stations is scheduled for commissioning in the second quarter and work on the third has started, according to the CEO.
Randgold has the government’s support as its Kibali Development Project continues to promote the growth of a robust local economy, as well as expanding to support Congo’s hopes of becoming one of Africa’s leading gold producers. The country increased output 69 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014 despite falling gold prices.
Gold gained 0.31 percent to sell at $1,093.26 as at 9:53am GMT.