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DRC gold production set to quadruple

The amount of gold produced by the Democratic Republic of Congo is on track to be four times the amount produced last year, thanks largely to the opening of the Kibali gold mine in May.

Reuters reported the country’s mines minister, Martin Kabwelulu, as saying that DRC’s gold output this year is targetted at 18 tonnes.

“This production was more or less 100 kilos in 2007 and passed to 4 tonnes last year, and this year we hope it will reach 16 to 18 tonnes,” Kabwelulu told a mining conference in the capital Kinshasa.

The hike in output is largely due to the opening of new mines, particularly the Kibali gold mine, owned by Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) (NASDAQ: GOLD) and AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU), each with a 45% stake, and the DRC state gold mining company Société Miniere de Kilo-Moto.

Kibali officially opened on May 2, representing an investment of more than $2.5 billion by Randgold and AngloGold Ashanti.

Kibali will rank as one of the largest gold mines in Africa when in full production, expecting to produce an average of 600,000 ounces of gold per annum over the first 12 years of its life.

The gold mine is located in the northeast of DRC, 150 kilometres west of the Ugandan border town of Arua.

DRC has been ramping up copper output in recent years and also produces almost half of the world’s supply of tantalum. The country’s ongoing conflicts due to “conflict minerals” have been under international scrutiny.