SAFE BET: A display of gold bullion. Picture: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG - Randgold Resources said on Monday gold production in 2017 rose five percent to 1.315 million ounces, more than previously expected with the total cash cost per ounce falling by three percent to $620.

Randgold Resources announced that 2017 profits rose 14 percent to $335 million and net cash increasing by 39 percent to $720 million, with no debt.  The board has proposed a dividend of $2.00 per share, double that of 2016, for shareholders’ approval.

Chief executive Mark Bristow said the strong performance was led by Randgold’s flagship, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali, and supported by an across-the-board delivery from its other operations, Morila in Mali, Tongon in Côte d’Ivoire and Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bristow said the highlight of the year for the company was the successful commissioning of Kibali’s underground mine.  Aside from a third hydropower station which is due to come on stream around mid-year, an eight-year capital investment project has been completed and Kibali turned into one of the world’s largest gold mines.

Randgold is forecasting production of between 1.30 and 1.35 million ounces at a total cash cost per ounce in the range of $590 to $640 for 2018, considering the current increases in the oil price and the euro:dollar exchange rate.

“Beyond that, our 10-year business plan is designed to increase net cash flows to support dividend and value growth and maintain Randgold’s position as a global industry leader in sustainable profitability,” Bristow said.

-  African News Agency (ANA)