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."