Randgold Resources said that the $2.5bn Kibali gold mine development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is expected to hit full production this year.

The gold mine is expected to be in full production this year following the successful commissioning of its underground operation’s integrated automated ore handling and hoisting system.

Randgold CEO Mark Bristow said that the giant gold mine is now on track to produce over 700,000 ounces of gold this year.

The Kibali gold mine project is claimed to have an advanced level of mechanization, comprising various driverless loaders running with full automation along with a single haulage drive with a high-strength surface.

Bristow said: “The past quarter has been a particularly busy one for Kibali. In addition to completing the underground haulage and hoisting system, the team has settled the processing challenges, improving the recovery while keeping throughput above the plant’s nameplate design level. 

“At the same time, the mine’s conversion to the latest ISO 14001:2015 environmental standard was successfully certified and it readied itself for alignment with the new, and yet to be published, ISO 45001 safety standards.”

Randgold has plans to increase the underground production of the mine and also finish the construction of its Azambi hydropower station, which is slated to be connected to the grid by mid-2018.

The Kibali mining project spans about 1,836km² in the Moto goldfields of the north east DRC, covering 10 mining permits. Randgold with a stake of 45% is its operator while AngloGold Ashanti and SOKIMO have stakes of 45% and 10%, respectively.