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London-listed gold miner Randgold said profits for the first quarter rose by 29 per cent from a year earlier as it increased production by 10 per cent.

Shares in the group rose 2.6 per cent in early trading in response to the news, to £67.80

Net profit for the period ending March rose to $69.8m from $54.3m a year earlier, the West African gold miner said. That was due to higher gold prices and an 18 per cent increase in the amount of gold sold, it said.

Still, gold sales fell from the previous quarter in 2016 due to work stoppages at its Loulo-Gounkoto and Tongon mines.

The company appears well positioned to meet its full year guidance of between 1.25m to 1.3m ounces, analysts at BMO Capital Markets said, at cash costs of costs between $580 to $630 an once.

“Overall the group’s assets have performed in line with expectations,” Mark Bristow, Randgold chief executive, said.

Randgold is expanding its Kibali operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo which is expected to produce 610,000 ounces of gold this year, from 585,946 ounces last year. That will rise to 750,000 in 2018 when the underground operation comes into service.

“Kibali has stayed on course to become one of the world’s great gold mines despite the volatile political climate in the DRC at present,” Mr Bristow said.

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