The Honourable Alassane Ouattara, President of Cote d'Ivoire, today officially opened Randgold Resources' new Tongon gold mine in the north of the country. Also at the ceremony were the Minister of Mines, Oil and Energy Adama Toungara, a number of ambassadors and senior government officials from the Cote d'Ivoire as well as Mali and the DRC, and representatives of Randgold's international and African business partners.
The mine poured its first bar of gold in October last year, on time and on budget despite the unrest which followed the disputed outcome of the presidential election in the country at that time. Profitable from its first quarter, it has since produced more than 250 000 ounces of gold and recently commissioned its hard rock crushing circuit.
Speaking at the ceremony, Randgold chairman Philippe Lietard said the successful development of Tongon was a tribute to the company's partnership philosophy and its long-term vision."We nurtured the Tongon project for 13 years because we could see this country's great potential and had faith in its people's ability to establish an environment in which that potential could be realised. That gave us the confidence to invest some US$400 million in developing what is now Cote d'Ivoire's largest hard-rock gold mine, and with it a wide range of economic opportunities," he said.
Also at the ceremony, chief executive Mark Bristow said Tongon did not represent the limit of Randgold's ambitions in Cote d'Ivoire."As far as we are concerned, Tongon is only the start. Even as I speak here today, our exploration teams are stepping out beyond the mine area and into our portfolio of permits covering some 7000 km2 elsewhere in the country, which includes some of Africa's most underexplored greenstone belts. Randgold has already come a long way with the Cote d'Ivoire; together, we may achieve even more on the road ahead," he said.