By working together, gold miners and their host country governments can build companies and industries that are sustainable regardless of the gold price cycle, Randgold Resources CEO Mark Bristow told the Indaba mining conference in Cape Town today. “Between the last gold boom in 1980 and the current bull run, there have been many peaks and valleys, often linked to economic or political jitters. The challenge is to create legislation and pursue business models that are not locked into this rollercoaster ride but are capable of surviving cyclicality,” he said.Bristow noted that Africa’s mineral wealth was offset by its lack of infrastructure and skills, as well as by governments’ tendency to change the rules once they had successfully solicited mining investment. “It takes only a small shift in the risk:reward equation to discourage investment, which is why many of the big international companies which were flocking to Africa at the height of the boom have suddenly developed cold feet,” he said.However, in addition to its mineral resources Africa also held a significant attraction for gold miners in the form of its gold fields’ geographic concentration, notably in the Birrimian region of West Africa, the Congo Craton of Central and East Africa and the Witwatersrand of South Africa. “If governments could get together and create enabling legislation, this aggregation does offer the potential for some very attractive synergies,” he said.Bristow said in just over 10 years Randgold Resources had discovered and developed two mines with a combined annual gold production of 700 000 oz, was building a third and had a fourth waiting in the wings. Its existing mines had created 5,000 jobs in areas where the only economic activity had been subsistence farming. It had invested substantially in the development of people and partnerships with governments, communities and local businesses, creating lasting value for all its stakeholders in the form of economic opportunities, careers and skills, improved infrastructure and a better quality of life.“If we as a company have been able to achieve this in West Africa, then surely as an industry, and in partnership with our host governments, we should be able to repeat it across the continent – building profitable mines that could support industry, attract fixed capital investment and deliver benefits to all stakeholders,” he said.