Randgold Resources stated that an ongoing review of Nielle permit, which hosts the Tongon gold mine, has confirmed multiple opportunities to extend the life of the operation beyond the currently scheduled four-years.
The main focus of the Tongon exploration programme was near-mine targets with high resource potential, while the firm was building a permit portfolio for another major discovery elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire.
Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow said: “Tongon was born in the midst of a political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, and has since had to overcome many challenges of an external, as well as an operational nature.
“The team has persevered, however, and ended 2016 with a gold production record for the fourth quarter of the year.
“Building on that base,with a strong emphasis on costs, as well as maximising the benefits of its plant upgrades and expansion, Tongon is on track to achieve its production guidance of 285,000oz of gold for 2017.”
Randgold acquired the Nielle permit in 1996, and the prefeasibility study on Tongon was completed in 2001, though plans to develop the mine were ultimately put on hold due to the breakout of civil war the following year.
The company resumed work on the project in 2007, and the mine was commissioned in 2010 amidst another political upheaval.
Bristow further noted: “The past year has again been a difficult one as Côte d’Ivoire met further challenges in its nation-building process.
"These included a wave of strikes and protest actions which impacted negatively on civil society, the economy and the mining industry.
"As evidenced by our continuing investment here, however, our belief in the country and in its people’s ability to work through these difficulties remains unshaken.”
Randgold is an Africa focused gold mining company engaged in exploration, development and other affiliated activities.