MINING NEWS – Randgold Q3 profit up 80 pct on higher grades, early Kibali start

London 07/11/2013 – Randgold Resources’ third-quarter profit jumped 80 percent on the previous quarter despite a three-percent drop in the gold price, it said.

Profit for the three-month period was at $97.5 million, up from $54.1 million previously, while production climbed 19 percent to 233,677 ounces, the producer said in its third-quarter results statement on Thursday

It attributed the increase to record production from Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali on higher grades and improved recoveries. The grade of ore processed at Loulo-Gounkoto increased to 5.1 grams per tonne from 4.0 grams.

This quarter also saw the early commissioning of the Kibali project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kibali poured its first gold in September, ahead of the original year-end target, and started commercial production in October.

Randgold expects more than 30,000 ounces of output from Kibali in the fourth quarter, which is on course for full output of 550,000 ounces in 2014.

Randgold will remain profitable even if the gold price drops to $1,000 per ounce, CEO Mark Bristow said. Spot gold was last at $1,308/09.20 per ounce, down $8.55 on yesterday’s close.

Bristow blamed the gold industry’s current tough times on a lack of focus on exploration.

“The industry finds itself in this difficult position today because it did not explore in the 1990s,” Bristow said. “That is why we will continue to look for high quality resources to exploit far into the future.”

(Additional reporting by Eddie van der Walt, editing by Mark Shaw)