Shaft Sinkers has been awarded the development contract for Randgold Resources’ Yalea underground mine at the Loulo complex in Mali. Shaft Sinkers’ Divisional Director – Sinking and International, Louis Germishuys, says that the underground development contract will significantly enhance the value and extend the life of the Loulo mine.Shaft Sinkers’ scope of work on the project includes the establishment of the boxcut, the sinking of a 4.5 x 4.5 m twin decline system which, when complete, will amount to 25,000 m of decline and associated development. Rob Schroder, Shaft Sinkers’ Divisional Director – Commercial, notes that site preparation for the twin decline system has already started and the boxcut and portal construction will commence soon. Sinking of the declines is scheduled to begin in the last quarter of this year, and the project is expected to be completed by December 2009. “Yalea is not only Shaft Sinkers’ flagship contract for Randgold Resources, but also the company’s first project in Mali. However, with our proven track record in Africa, we are confident that we will complete the contract safely, on time and within budget,” Schroder explains. Loulo underground manager, Thinus Strydom says that the underground plan has been updated and integrated with the open pit plan. Additional areas of synergy between the open pit and underground operations which also include the Loulo 0 mine are being worked on.