February 5, 2018 / 8:19 AM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Randgold doubles dividend after 2017 profits rise 14 pct

(Writes through with context)

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - African gold miner Randgold doubled its annual dividend after profits rose by 14 percent in 2017 and said it was fighting to prevent the adoption of a new mining code in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Randgold, which operates in DRC, Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal said full year profit rose to $335 million with gold output increasing 5 percent to 1.315 million ounces, beating guidance.

Its cash cost per ounce fell 3 percent to $620 while cash reserves rose 39 percent to $720 million and the company had no debt.

Randgold said its board had proposed a dividend of $2 a share, up from $1 for the previous year.

The company was “well placed to achieve its goal of developing three new projects in the next five years,” it said, predicting production of between 1.30 and 1.35 million ounces in 2018 with a cash cost per ounce of $590-$640.

Randgold also said it was working with the government of the DRC to stop the introduction of a mining code passed by the country’s Senate last month that raises royalties on metals including gold.

“The company believes (the code) will severely limit the growth of the mining industry in the DRC as well as the country’s own economic prospects,” Randgold said in a statement.

It said if the code was enacted without further consultation with miners Randgold would “seek to enforce our rights including those which provide for international arbitration.” (Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by David Goodman/Keith Weir)

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