Sunday, August 20, 2017
Mark Bristow

Mark Bristow

Randgold Resources

2016 was not the smoothest for Randgold Resources’ CEO, Mark Bristow which was nonetheless bookended with endeavour: two exploration joint venture agreements with Alecto Minerals and Newcrest Mining as Randgold continued to prefer growth through exploration and discovery rather than M&A. (Bristow acknowledged in an interview with Miningmx in June 2016 that he’d come mightily close to a major corporate deal). In between, however, the Mali government threatened to shut Randgold’s mines amid a $80m tax dispute (it didn’t) whilst operational collywobbles at Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tongon in Côte d’Ivoire put the firm’s 1.25 million ounce a year output target in jeopardy. By the close of 2016, however, Bristow was talking of amassing $500m in free cash which would be enough to precipitate a positive change in the firm’s dividend policy. There was also the prospect of three projects adding between 500,000 to 600,000 oz to current production that would take medium-term production to about 1.7 million oz. The bull market for gold materialised as Bristow forecast in 2015 whilst he probably even surprised himself by correctly suspecting Donald Trump would be elected US president – a turn of events that would further boost the gold price. Away from Randgold, Bristow said a consortium he leads would put more capital into Rockwell Diamonds, the Johannesburg-listed company he chairs, which continues to suffer operational troubles.

LIFE OF MARK

Born in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal in 1959, Bristow has a PhD in geology from the University of Natal. He founded Randgold some 22 years ago, but as the second longest serving CEO on the FTSE 100 Index, however, there’s talk he may step down once he has locked in 1.5 million oz of gold production for Randgold. This may clear the decks for more charitable work following his latest African fund-raising traverse, Boyz on Bikes in which he travelled from Uganda to the Congo raising over $1m in the process.

“I’m 57: I don’t want to overstay my welcome, I’m very mindful of that.”