Randgold Resources CEO, Mark Bristow, has just given a quarterly update to media in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire where the company operates a major gold mining operation – the Tongon mine. The mine has had some problems which have prevented it meeting its full capacity, but is continuing to make good progress in resolving these.
Bristow likes the mining environment in Cote d’Ivoire where it has a good relationship with the government and he has continued to praise the country’s new mining code which he feels is supportive of those foreign potential mine developers looking to work there. Consequently he is also focusing some significant gold exploration work on the highly prospective Ivorian geology.
Speaking at the company’s quarterly update for local media, Bristow said Tongon’s recovery rate was improving, despite the problems presented by the erratic grid power supply, which management was addressing with the power utility. Following the commissioning of the new hydrocone crushers, work is continuing in conjunction with the equipment supplier to achieve the design performance level, and it has been decided to upgrade capacity by installing a fourth stage of three additional crushers at the end of the existing circuit.
“Looking beyond Tongon, we’ve stepped up our exploration effort in Côte d’Ivoire on the back of its positive new mining code, and the results are confirming our belief in the high potential of the country’s prospectivity,” he said.
“We’ve taken a fresh look at our Nielle permit, which hosts Tongon, and a number of targets for follow-up have already been generated. The most exciting suite of new targets is in the Boundiali permit. These include the very significant new target, Fonondara, and a series of other targets covering a strike of 60 kilometres at the western margin of the Boundiali belt, believed to be an extension of the Syama belt in Mali. A first-phase diamond drilling programme is currently underway at Fonondara and Sani.”
At Fonondara, six trenches over a 1.5 kilometre strike have exposed a system which averages 16 metres at 2.96g/t. Drill results beneath the trenches have returned best results of 16.53 metres at 3.38g/t including 7.40 metres at 5.88g/t from the main zone and 8.83 metres at 28.62g/t including 4.10 metres at 61.05g/t in the footwall. Results from Sani are pending.
On the Mankono permit, a very promising bulk mining target has also been identified, with trenches grading up to 1.8g/t over widths of 100 metres, and on the Fapoha permit, just south of the Nielle permit, three contiguous targets have delivered good initial sampling grades over a 13 kilometre strike with consistently anomalous pits in the target structure grading up to 8g/t.
“We are very encouraged by the government’s commitment to building and diversifying the Ivorian economy, among other things by facilitating foreign investment. Combined with the country’s geological assets, this is creating new opportunities for the mining industry which Randgold, with its long-established presence here, is particularly well placed to grasp,” Bristow said.