Randgold Resources reports that the Kibali gold project in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has advanced to its immediate pre-production stage, and final preparations are being made for the first gold pour, targeted for October this year.

Kibali development is based on a 10-million-oz-plus gold deposit and is owned by Randgold (45%), AngloGold Ashanti (45%), and the Congolese parastatal, Sokimo (10%). The life-of-mine plan envisages average production of about 600,000 oz/y of gold for the first 12 years of operation, at an average grade of 4.1 g/mt. Randgold is developing the project and will operate the mine.

The completed Kibali operation will include an integrated underground and open-pit mine, a twin-circuit sulphide and oxide plant with a throughput of 6 million mt/y, and four hydropower stations, as well as a standby high-speed thermal power generator for back-up during the dry season.

Randgold Chief Executive Mark Bristow told a media briefing in Kinshasa, DRC, in late July that more than 1 million mt of ore from the open pit had been stockpiled to feed the metallurgical plant’s oxide circuit, which is scheduled to start commissioning in the third quarter of 2013. All 36 power generator sets had arrived on site, and the back-up diesel power station was on schedule, with the first six of 15 generator sets needed for plant start-up already commissioned. 

The construction of the first of the four hydropower stations was on track for completion in the first quarter of 2014. 

Work on the underground mine was progressing well, with development of the declines running ahead of schedule, and the vertical shaft due to reach a depth of 183 m by year-end.


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