Ask Bristow and he will tell you the gold industry has been plagued for decades by short-term thinking based on the last quarter return for shareholders or the latest gold price. Instead, under the stewardship of Bristow, Randgold Resources has opted for a long-term strategy of investing in its Africa-based exploration and mining business consistently, not just when the price soars.
That is why, as the price of gold plunged by 11 per cent in 2015, Randgold was outperforming the S&P 500 by almost 27 per cent. In fact, the company, considered among the most profitable in its industry, was having one of the best years since it was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1997. Its production was up by six per cent from the previous year to more than 1.2 million ounces and its cash on-hand was up by 158 per cent to US$213.4 million, although its profit was down due to gold prices. In the first two months of 2016, the company’s stock rose by almost 29 per cent as gold prices sharply turned upward. By March, analysts were ringing the bells: gold was back in a bull market for the first time since 2013.
“Our success in 2015 was driven in the years preceding. The things that we’re doing now will deliver the results in the future,” he said.
“Our core business is to be profitable and to create value for the benefit of all our stakeholders, which is our shareholders, the governments who act on behalf of the people, communities and our workers,” said Bristow, whose long-term strategy includes turning each of Randgold’s mining operations into standalone businesses run and managed 100 per cent by locals rather than bringing in expensive expats. “The return on the investment in training an engineer is a matter of months,” said Bristow. “Expats cost a lot more and they are mercenary in that they’re not in it for the long-term.”