Randgold Resources recorded more than 400 mm (15.7 inches) of rain fall in the past 12 days (equivalent to about 40% of the region’s annual precipitation) at its Loulo/Gounkoto gold mining complex in Mali. Believed to be a one in 100 year event, it has swamped the pumping capacity in the Gara and Gounkoto pits and affected the mining schedule. The impact of the abnormal rains has been exacerbated by heavy rainfall in the Guinea catchment area of the Falémé River, which runs through the complex, resulting in the haulage and service roads between the Gounkoto mine and the Loulo plant being cut off.

“We have managed to open up a longer alternate route to supply the Gounkoto operation with explosives and diesel, and although we are mining the upper benches at both Gara and Gounkoto, it is going to take a couple of weeks to drain the bottom of the pits and re-establish ore production in the high grade sections of the ore bodies,” said Mark Bristow, CEO, Randgold Resources.

He said there was enough stockpiled ore at Loulo to keep the plant running at full capacity but the rain-imposed limitations on mining had reduced the flexibility of the feed grade. This situation was expected to be resolved by mid-September, provided there were no more abnormally heavy rains.