Secret of the Kibali Mine: Flying people in and gold bars out
By Thomas Wilson
Monday, March 6, 2017
Randgold Resources Ltd. had to haul heavy equipment more than 1,000 miles to build the roads and hydropower plants needed to construct its Kibali gold mine, the biggest in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The sprawling facility in a remote corner of a country that is the size of Western Europe is a high-tech operation. In one tunnel deep underground, a $1.3 million, 68-metric-ton remote-controlled digger heaves ore out of a cavernous blast hole. The ventilation system hums as 50-ton loads are slowly humped along the 3-kilometer (2-mile) track back to the surface.
The best-performing gold miner of the past decade, Randgold has built its success on getting complicated projects like Kibali into production on time and within budget. It's the third major mine the company has brought on stream in five years, and it has indeed been a gold mine: It accounts for about a fifth of the company's production, which tripled between 2010 and 2015 as revenue doubled to more than $1 billion.
Now, with Kibali nearing full production and no new discoveries since 2011, the miner needs to find guaranteed output growth to impress investors wary of the shrinking pool of large-scale deposits. ...
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