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Randgold engaging with authorities in bid to resume Tongon operations

Randgold Resources Ltd. aims to restart operations at its Tongon gold mine in Cote d'Ivoire based on an agreement between the union representatives, management and the government's mining and labor ministries.

Government-led talks focusing on addressing issues regarding industrial relations at Tongon were halted earlier in July due to a workers' strike at the site.

"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," CEO Mark Bristow said in a July 30 statement.

The parties in April agreed to a negotiation period during which work would continue at the site. However, the unions made new demands in mid-July that were outside the existing multiparty agreement as well as Ivorian labor law, and halted the mine's operations after abandoning negotiations.

Bristow said the company will now review its production forecast due to the work stoppage and the time it will take to bring Tongon back on line and up to full production.

As of mid-May, the company expected to meet its consolidated annual production guidance of 1.30 million to 1.35 million ounces while earlier that month it said the stoppages at Tongon were likely to impact the mine's full-year production guidance of 290,000 ounces.

The chief executive added that despite the setbacks, Randgold remains committed to investing in Cote d'Ivoire.