JMP Mali

Randgold to revise full-year forecast as readies Tongon mine for restart

Randgold Resources’ said Monday it was seeking to restart mining and processing operations at its Tongon gold mine in the Ivory Coast, where production was halted two weeks ago due to a strike.

The Africa-focused gold producer said it has engaged in talks with the interested parties, based on a recently reached agreement with workers leaders, union representatives, local authorities and the government’s mining and labour ministries.

Full-year output forecast revision comes on the back of the latest stoppage at Tongon and the time it will take to bring it back on line and at full tilt.

“Given the ongoing social issues that have intermittently affected the mine’s operations over the past two years, and after the latest work stoppage which halted production two weeks ago, we have engaged with government who have taken measures to secure the assets and are dealing with the situation,” chief executive Mark Bristow said in the statement.

He added the mine had reached an agreement with unions earlier this month, thanks to a government-led process. At the time, the parts committed to work as usual through a negotiation period.

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The talks were progressing well until July 13, when unions made new demands that were outside the existing multi-party agreement as well as Ivorian labour law, subsequently abandoning the negotiations and halting the mine’s operations.

“At that stage Tongon was recovering from a stumbling start to the year and was on track to achieve its revised production guidance,” Bristow said.

As a result of the latest stoppage and the time it will take to bring the operation back on line and at full tilt, Randgold said it would have to review its 290,000-ounce gold output forecast for the year.

Tongon, which produced 288,680 ounces of gold last year, was also hit by on-and-off strikes in April.

Two of Randgold’s gold mines in neighbouring Mali have also been hit by strikes this year and a long-running dispute with the government over a claim of as much as $200 million in back-taxes.

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