Africa-focused miner Randgold Resources on Tuesday advised that it had recently entered into a new joint venture (JV) agreement – its third in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – with a State-owned mining company and Moku Goldmines for the Moku-Beverendi gold exploration project, located along the same greenstone belt that hosted its significant Kibali mine.
The company stated that it remained committed to increasing its presence in the country.
Under the new JV with government-owned Société Minière de Kilo-Moto and Moku Goldmines, which was controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, Randgold could earn a 51% stake in the Moku-Beverendi project from Société Minière de Moku-Beverendi, by funding and conducting exploration and completing a prefeasibility study.
Randgold advised that this addition to its portfolio extended its exploration footprint in the DRC to 7 824 km², spanning the major gold belt in the north-east of the country.
Kibali last year exceeded its target by 7% to contribute 642 720 oz to Randgold’s record output for the year. CEO Mark Bristow cautioned, however, that Kibali was still a work in progress and faced many challenges as it worked towards its completion in 2018, when the underground mine was expected to be fully operational.
“The next two years will be particularly tough, as Kibali continues to ramp up its underground production within the constraints of a lower grade and the consequent need for a higher throughput. We are, therefore, forecasting an output of 610 000 oz for 2016 and 620 000 oz for 2017,” he said.
However, to ensure Kibali’s continued delivery, Bristow said that partnership with government and the community would have to be strengthened.
“For its part, government has to focus on the urgent need to establish an effective local administration, in an area where rapid population growth and the lack of functional structures are generating a complex social dynamic that will become increasingly difficult to deal with,” he warned.