Tongon, owned 89% by Randgold, 10% by the State of Côte d’lvoire and 1% by a local company, is targeting production of 290 000 oz in 2016.
“But there are still significant challenges in its way. Chief among these is the continued instability of the grid power supply, which has a major impact on the mine’s cost structure,” Randgold CEO Dr Mark Bristow said on Monday, adding that the Tongon team was in discussion with the Ivorian power utility to resolve the problem.
The mine, located within the Nielle exploration permit in the north of Côte d’lvoire, 55 km south of the border with Mali, has commissioned its fourth-stage crushing circuit, which completed an extensive capital project that was designed to improve throughput and recovery.
Last year, gold production from the mine rose 7% to 242 948 oz after the flotation upgrade and crushing circuit extension programme started delivering results.
Exploration is under way to extend the seven-year life-of-mine of Tongon’s two opencast operations, the latest drilling results indicating the potential for additional reserves and resources within and below the existing openpits.
It was announced at the weekend that the London-listed Randgold would be contributing $50 000 a year for three years to Côte d’Ivoire’s first golf academy, where an initial 100 underprivileged children will receive education bursaries and be developed as golfers. Randgold is scheduled to announce its first-quarter results on Wednesday May 4.