Randgold hoping for major discovery in Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast, which has just announced one of the most investor-friendly mining codes in Africa, is on top of the list for Africa-focused gold miner Randgold Resources (LON:RSS) CEO Mark Bristow, who is hoping for one last major discovery before retiring.
“We pour the gold and I’m out of here. I don’t want to hang around. I don’t want to be the chairman or anything like that. I’ve got other things to do,” he told reporters Thursday, according to Bloomberg.
Bristow (55) founded Randgold in the 1990s. Under his management, the company has grown to have a market value of $7 billion (4.2 billion pounds) and be the U.K.’s biggest gold producer.
A geologist by training, Bristow led the discoveries of three gold mines in Mali holding 20 million ounces in deposits. The company has also built the Kibali mine in the DRC and Tongon in Ivory Coast.
Thanks to the executive’s conservative policies, Randgold has not needed to write down its reserves and resources as the gold price dropped, unlike most of its gold peers. This is because the firm has calculated its reserves at $1,000 per ounce and its resources at $1,500 per once for the past three years.
“We have looked closely at all our mines to ensure that they will still be profitable at US$1,000/oz and we’ll continue to review our operations against a range of gold price scenarios. We’ve also put a solid budget in place for 2014, kept our rolling five year plan intact and are now building this into a ten year plan,” Bristow said in a statement in March.
Now he is searching for a gold deposit that has a minimum of 5 million ounces gold, so that it can generate a return on investment of 20%, and Bristow believes that discovery will likely happen in Ivory Coast.
“The country has good infrastructure, low-cost power and an amenable political climate,” he told Bloomberg.
Randgold currently holds two permits in Ivory Coast: Mankono prospect and Fapoha. The later is south of its existing Tongon, a 6 million-ounce deposit, which already is the country’s biggest gold producer.