Chief Executive's Review
For the seventh consecutive year, Randgold increased its gold production in 2017 and at the same time reduced its total cash cost per ounce, a significant achievement in an operating environment that was not without its challenges.
Gratifying as this is, it is important to note that Randgold does not pursue growth for the sake of growth. The steady build-up of our production profile has been part of a carefully considered process, subject to strict criteria and managed within the framework of a long term strategy designed to deliver sustainable profitability and the consistent creation of real value to be shared equitably with all stakeholders.
And it is not resting on its laurels. Work has started on a new super pit at Gounkoto and near-mine exploration continues to top up its reserves.
Robust all-round performance
The parade was once again led, as is appropriate, by our flagship operation, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali, which exceeded its annual production guidance by some 40 000 ounces. Loulo-Gounkoto’s phased development is a perfect example of Randgold’s business model. From one open pit, it has grown over the years to two underground mines and one open pit, and now ranks as one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The complex is therefore well positioned to achieve its aim of producing 600 000 ounces of gold per year for at least the next 10 years. It’s worth noting that our decision to take over the underground mining operations from contractors two years ago has had a significant positive impact on its performance by improving efficiencies and reducing costs. The experience we have gained here will be invaluable when we convert the new underground operation at Kibali to owner- mining, planned for later in 2018. The Loulo permit remains rich in opportunities not only for the expansion of its existing asset base but also for new discoveries.