Although it has been pouring gold since last September, The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Mines, Martin Kabwelulu, today officially opened the Kibali gold mine on behalf of the country’s president, Joseph Kabila Kabange, in a ceremony attended by Province Orientale governor Jean Bamanisa Saidi, DRC cabinet ministers, ambassadors of various countries and local dignitaries. Kibali will be, when it reaches full capacity, one of the world’s largest gold mines.
As 45% owner AngloGold Ashanti’s CEO, Srinavasan Venkatakrishnan (Venkat), says, though, to meet its full potential it was of the utmost importance that the DRC’s mining code remained supportive of the gold mining sector. The process so far has gone remarkably smoothly with the mine being brought on stream ahead of schedule despite it being located in one of the most remote parts of the African continent in the north eastern DRC. Indeed the heavy equipment had to be transported across from Africa’s east coast – quite a remarkable logistical achievement in its own right.
The other 45% owner is Randgold Resources (with the 10% balance owned by DRC parastatal SOKIMO) and it is Randgold which is the operator and was responsible for managing the mine’s construction. The company has great African experience in mine building and it seems to have transferred this across successfully to the DRC environment.
Speaking at the opening, Randgold chairman Philippe Liétard said the successful development of Kibali in the face of many infrastructural and other challenges was a triumph for the company’s partnership philosophy. “Here we have shown what can be achieved in Africa when we all work together: a government that understands the importance of attracting and retaining the investments that are necessary to build a modern economy; two mining companies that believe in sharing the value they create with all their stakeholders, especially the local community; a labour force that is eager to grasp the opportunity of working and learning; and a people who have welcomed us and supported our endeavours,” Liétard said.
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