Newcrest has signed a heads on agreement with Randgold Resources to form a joint venture and explore potential mine developments in an area of mutual interest in the south-east Ivory Coast, West Africa.

The scope of exploration includes some of the most productive Ghanaian gold belts and associated structures of West Africa. 

Under the agreement, Randgold will hold the responsibility to manage the exploration programme and operate any mine that can be developed.

A technical committee comprising senior geologists from both companies will supervise the exploration programme and subsequent development projects.

"The two companies will work together to mine the under-explored area of Ivory Coast."

The committee will work under the direction of the joint venture board.

Newcrest chief developmental officer Michael Nossal said that this joint venture brings together two leading gold explorers in the world. The two companies will work together to mine the under-explored area of Ivory Coast.

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Nossal said: “Newcrest is pleased to team up with Randgold on this exciting project. Randgold have proven their ability to successfully explore and operate in Africa over many years.

“Combining this with our own experienced West African exploration team to apply the best thinking from each group will provide a strong competitive edge in what we consider to be a prospective part of the country.”