Kibali gold mine has successfully delivered its first gold production early and within budget, introducing new ounces at costs lower than its current average, writes Vicky Sidler.

The joint venture between Randgold Resources and AngloGold Ashanti, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will have an estimated annual production of about 600,000oz of gold from reserves of 11Moz and resources of 21Moz. The mine is being developed in two concurrent phases, initially as an open pit operation, with the underground mine scheduled to access ore in 2015.

Kibali is a world-class gold mining asset with good growth potential, and it significantly improves the quality of our portfolio,” says AngloGold Ashanti Chief Executive Officer Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan. “This joint venture has worked incredibly well and achieving production on time and on budget is testament to our partner’s project management and execution skills, and to the strong support from the government and from the local communities.”

By 2014, Kibali will provide employment to more than 2 500 people, comprising mainly Congolese nationals. Already, more than half of all senior managers are Congolese and about 100 Congolese have received training as operators at Randgold’s West African mines.

“Important as this day is, it is still only the first step in achieving this project’s great potential,” says Kibali General Manager Louis Watum.  “With gold sales set to start next month, our focus is now on commissioning of the rest of the metallurgical plant and the hydropower stations as well as progressing the underground development.”

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