UPDATE 1-Randgold cuts Ivory Coast mine forecast after fire
LONDON Dec 27 (Reuters) - Miner Randgold Resources Plc has cut the production forecast for its troubled Ivory Coast gold mine after a fire over Christmas at the project's mill.
Randgold said it now expected to produce around 208,000 ounces in 2012 from the Tongon mine, down from an expected 270,000 ounces at the beginning of the year.
Africa-focused Randgold said the fire started on Dec. 24 during a planned shutdown for repairs.
The fire had now been extinguished and there had been no injuries, but a number of parts at the mill had been damaged, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The mine expected to have the milling circuits operational within 10 days and fully operational up to a month after receiving replacement parts, it said.
Tongon has struggled with power outages and shortages since operations began in 2010, as well as labour unrest. Reduced estimates for Tongon had already led Randgold to guide group 2012 output to the lower end of the 825,000-865,000 ounces range last month, hurting the company's shares.
Prospects for Tongon have also been dimmed by Ivory Coast's parliament, which approved a new tax on gold profits in December, angering mining firms operating in the West African nation.
However, Randgold also said on Thursday that its flagship Loulo mine in Mali was on track to reach full-year output of 500,000 ounces and its Morila project, also in Mali, would exceed the guided 200,000 ounces for 2012.
The company's shares rose 1 percent in thin trade at the open on Thursday. The stock has fallen over 20 percent since the beginning of October.
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