Randgold Resources Ltd. signed a joint-venture agreement with Moku Goldmines AG, controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, to develop the Moku-Beverendi gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"We are excited about this partnership," Randgold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow told reporters on Tuesday in the capital, Kinshasa. Under the agreement, Randgold can earn a minimum 51 percent stake in the project by funding and conducting exploration and completing a pre-feasibility study, he said.
The mountains running along Congo’s eastern border are home to several developing gold mines, the largest of which is Randgold’s Kibali, part-owned by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. Moku-Beverendi has exploration permits adjoining Kibali gold mine. Gold production in Congo has increased exponentially in the past two years as mines have come online, with output jumping 30 percent last year to 25.5 metric tons.
Bristow first said he had made an approach to acquire Moku-Beverendi, which Gertler controls through his family-owned Fleurette Group, in February 2015. Fleurette currently owns 65 percent of the project alongside state-owned Societe Miniere de Kilo-Moto SA, or SOKIMO. Sokimo’s participation will be converted to a 20 percent non-contributing stake in the mine if it moves to production, Bristow said.
"We are delighted to now be working alongside Randgold who will bring their unparalleled knowledge and expertise to this project and take it to the next stage of development" Gertler said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.
Fleurette Group also controls stakes in copper, cobalt and oil projects in the country, including two joint-ventures with Glencore Plc.