Boart Longyear announced in mid-August that it has been awarded a major contract for exploration drilling services at the Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The contract has an expected duration of five years and value of up to $70 million. Drilling was scheduled to begin immediately.

The Kibali mine is nearing startup and will rank as one of the largest gold mines in Africa. Located in a remote northeastern area of the DRC and operated by a joint venture of Randgold Resources (45%), AngloGold Ashanti (45%) and the Congolese parastatal, Sokimo (10%), it currently has reserves estimated at close to 11 million oz of gold.

During the life of the contract, Boart Longyear will deploy at least seven rigs at the site and provide a variety of drilling techniques, including deep diamond coring, reverse circulation, and rotary rigs for mine dewatering.

Randgold is targeting October of this year for the first gold pour at Kibali. When completed, the operation will include an integrated underground and open-pit mine, a twin-circuit sulphide and oxide plant with throughput capacity of 6 million mt/y, and four hydropower stations. (E&MJ, August 2013, p. 18).