Shares in the FTSE 100 gold miner Randgold Resources dived by 13 per cent yesterday after a military coup in Mali, where it signed a major deal only the day before.
Randgold, which has a large presence in the African country, rushed out a statement saying that it "was keeping a close watch on developments in Mali, where elements of the army appear to have mounted a coup attempt".
This came less than 24 hours after the company's chief executive, Mark Bristow (pictured), established a separate company in order to look after Randgold's Gountoko mine near the border with Senegal.
Mr Bristow, who yesterday was staying near Gountoko, 350km west of the capital, Bamaku, on Wednesday, hailed the new company as "the latest milestone in the long and mutually beneficial partnership between the state of Mali and Randgold". Randgold owns 80 per cent of Gountoko SA, with the Malian government owning the remainder. A separate company was established to control the mine because of its sizeable, 5.5 million ounces of estimated reserves.
Rebel troops were reported to have taken over Malian state radio and announced they had seized control of the country.
Mr Bristow said that the company's operations across Mali were "running normally".
"Malians respect laws and I don't believe this will come with a high-handed change in political direction," he said.
"We don't expect any subsequent governments to disregard proper and due process."
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