Kibali gold mine in Democratic Republic of Congo has been opened by Randgold Resources, AngloGold Ashanti and Société Miniere de Kilo-Moto (SOKIMO).

Kibali gold mine is 45%-owned by Randgold, 45%-owned by AngloGold and the remained by SOKIMO. It is located 150km west of the Ugandan border town of Arua in the north-east of the DRC.

The mine is currently being operated and developed by Randgold, with an investment of more than $2.5bn from both the company and AngloGold.

Once completed and in full production, the Kibali mine will be one of the largest gold mines in Africa, claims the owners.

"Kibali must become the catalyst that triggers the additional investment required to grow a strong regional economy."

When it reaches full production, the mine is expected to produce 600,000oz of gold a year in its first twelve years.

The mine, which is operational as well as under development, produced 88,200oz of gold with profits of $68.3m between September to December 2013.

Kibali is currently producing from its open pit mine and an oxide circuit.

Randgold CEO Mark Bristow said the successful development of Kibali could herald the birth of a new DRC economic region to rival the Katanga Province.

"We need to ensure that we deliver the returns expected by the investors who entrusted us with their money. We have to run a profitable mine, focused on long-term viability, that pays taxes, and employs and develops citizens from this region and this country. Kibali must become the catalyst that triggers the additional investment required to grow a strong regional economy," Bristow said.

AngloGold Ashanti CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said that it was of the utmost importance that the DRC’s mining code remained supportive of the gold mining sector for Kibali’s full potential to be realised.

"The government now has an important opportunity to show the world that it is welcoming of gold mining by helping to create what can in a short time become one of the largest gold producers in the world and an engine of growth for this region and this country," Venkatakrishnan said.