RANDGOLD RESOURCES LIMITED Incorporated in Jersey, Channel Islands Reg. No. 62686 LSE Trading Symbol: RRS
SOLID Q3 OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE WHILE PROSPECT OF NEW MINE GAINS MOMENTUM
London, 1 November 2007 (LSE:RRS)(Nasdaq: GOLD) - Randgold Resources increased production and contained group costs in the quarter to September despite some operational and weather-related challenges at its Loulo mine in Mali. At the same time, a rescoped study of its Tongon project in Cote d'Ivoire has substantially increased its potential size.
Gold sales rose to US$70.7 million from the previous quarter's US$66.2 million on the back of a 5% increase in attributable production to 110 247 ounces and higher gold prices. Attributable net profit of US$11.5 million was 69% up on the previous quarter. Total cash costs were US$38.2 million against the previous quarter's US$38 million and group total cash costs per ounce were down US$15 to US$346 compared to US$361. Cash operating costs were also down US$16 from US$321 to US$305 per ounce.
Chief executive Mark Bristow noted that production and costs for the nine months to September were in line with the market guidance Randgold Resources had given at the beginning of 2007 and said the company was on track to meet its forecast for the year despite the significant cost pressure driven by the higher fuel costs, stronger euro and higher royalties.
The company's Morila joint venture substantially improved its performance, producing 130 568 ounces at a total cash cost of US$289 per ounce (cash operating cost of US$241 per ounce) against the previous quarter's 86 832 ounces at US$403 per ounce (cash operating cost of US$355 per ounce). The increase resulted from a better mining rate which provided access to higher-grade faces. Morila's production for the final quarter of the year is anticipated to approach the level required to achieve the revised annual forecast of 475 000 ounces.
The Loulo mine achieved planned gold production, despite an exceptionally wet season and equipment availability constraints on the part of the mining contractor. These factors had a negative impact on the mix of hard and soft ore fed to the mill, resulting in a higher percentage of harder Gara ore in the mix. Gara ore is very abrasive when fed on its own which impacted on crusher liner and grinding media consumption, and consequently on unit costs.
"Given the odds stacked against them, Loulo's management team did very well to achieve the planned gold production of 58 020 ounces at total cash costs of US$398 per ounce (cash operating cost of US$363 per ounce). The mine is still on track to achieve and perhaps better its forecast production of 250 000 ounces for the year."
Also at Loulo, progress on the twin declines for the Yalea underground development was slowed down by poor ground conditions. At the end of the quarter, the declines had been developed to some 460 metres and were at a vertical depth of 86 metres.
"Once we're through the unstable weathered zone, the pace will pick up again and it should then take us about 10 weeks to intersect the orebody. That is now more likely to be early in 2008 than towards the end of this year, as we originally expected, but the integrity of the declines and the safety of the workers are more important than the rate of advance. This slight delay should not affect Loulo's projected overall production profile but may result in the deferring of some costs to next year," Bristow said. He noted the declaration of an additional 386 000 ounces at Yalea resulting from the completion of a new design and mining plan for the Yalea South extension.
Meanwhile, the rescoping exercise designed to update the prefeasibility study on the Tongon project has shown a 41% increase to 4.39 million ounces in the total resource, with 37% converted to reserves. The expanded total mineable resource of 2.79 million ounces will support a larger operation than originally envisaged and the plant's design throughput is being increased from 200 000 tonnes per month to 300 000 tonnes, with a life of mine exceeding 10 years. The emphasis at Tongon is now on continuing with the next phase of infill and definition drilling and completing the bankable feasibility study. This drilling is designed to convert the remaining mineable resource to reserve and could also lead to an increase in the average grade of the mineable material due to improved drillhole density and a commensurate improvement in orebody definition, particularly in the southern zone and the shallower regions of the northern zone orebodies.
On the exploration front, Bristow said the company had added significant brownfields elements, notably around Loulo and Tongon, to the portfolio of greenfields prospects which had traditionally driven its organic growth.
With its West African exploration teams now back in the field after the annual wet season break, there was a strong focus on the Faraba, Loulo 3 and Baboto prospects around Loulo as well as the adjacent Bambadji joint venture. In Cote d'Ivoire, a number of promising targets would be evaluated on the Nielle permit, which hosts Tongon, as well as on the company's other permits in that highly prospective region. These include the Tiasso walk-up drill target on the Boundiali permit.
Bristow said there were a number of significant greenfields exploration plays located in the six countries across West and East Africa where Randgold Resources has a presence. He added that the company would pursue corporate and acquisition opportunities provided they outranked its own organic growth prospects.
RANDGOLD RESOURCES ENQUIRIES: Chief Executive Financial Director Investor & Media Relations Dr Mark Bristow Graham Shuttleworth Kathy du Plessis +44 788 071 1386 +44 20 7557 7730 +44 20 7557 7738 +44 779 775 2288 +44 779 614 4438 Email:email@example.com +223 675 0122 Website: www.randgoldresources.com ---------------------------------------------------- REPORT FOR THE THIRD QUARTER ENDED 30 SEPTEMBER 2007 * Solid operating performance * Gold production up 5% * Costs in line * Net profit up 69% * Tongon resources up 41% to a total of 4.39Moz; 37% converted to reserves * Rescoping of prefeasibility study at Tongon supports a larger project * Significant brownfield exploration potential highlighted at Loulo and Tongon Randgold Resources Limited had 69.3 million shares in issue as at 30 September 2007 SUMMARISED FINANCIAL INFORMATION US$000 Quarter Quarter Quarter 9 months 9 months ended ended ended ended ended 30 Sep 30 Jun 30 Sep 30 Sep 30 Sep 2007 2007 2006 2007 2006 Gold sales# 70 701 66 220 63 178 199 986 193 860 Total cash costs* 38 189 38 029 32 504 111 225 94 415 Profit from mining activity* 32 512 28 191 30 674 88 761 99 445 Exploration and corporate expenditure 7 872 8 594 6 768 22 987 21 393 Profit before income tax 18 319 10 034 18 302 44 578 58 210 Net profit 11 540 6 848 12 746 31 136 40 086 Net profit attributable to equity shareholders 11 474 5 764 12 285 28 656 37 584 Net cash generated from operations 2 262 14 663 17 818 30 492 61 765 Cash and cash equivalents 131 086 137 313 155 320 131 086 155 320 Attributable production+ (ounces) 110 247 105 393 107 002 324 838 331 379 Group total cash costs per ounce*+ (US$) 346 361 304 342 285 Group cash operating costs per ounce*+ (US$) 305 321 265 303 247 # Gold sales does not include the non-cash profit/(loss) on the roll forward of hedges. * Refer to explanation of non-GAAP measures provided. + Randgold Resources consolidates 100% of Loulo and 40% of Morila.
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