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Gold miners dealing with major dilemmas dominate the headlines, but Randgold Resources Ltd. is quietly putting together an impressive campaign, proving that all hope isn't lost for the industry.

The company's share price performance speaks for itself. Though the stock has fallen about 10 per cent in the past year on the FTSE, the slip is much less pronounced than the vast majority of its peers. And more impressively, Randgold's shares are up 84 per cent in the past five years.

Major shareholder BlackRock Inc. is certainly impressed. On Monday the behemoth asset manager announced that it scooped up some more shares, bringing its total ownership to 14.1 per cent. For some history, in 2010 BlackRock owned about 12 per cent.

To understand just how well Randgold has performed in a rough market, you simply need to compare its share price performance relative to its peers. Barrick Gold Corp. is down 54 per cent in a year and 58 per cent over five years. Goldcorp's down 29 per cent in a year and 30 per cent over five years.

The South African miner also shines relative to the stronger Canadian gold miners. Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd., currently an industry darling, is up about 1 per cent in the past year, but still down 54 per cent over five years. And Yamana Gold Corp. is down 15 per cent in the past year and 17 per cent in five years.

What's got Randgold so hot? Nothing too special, actually. Chief executive officer Mark Bristow has simply stuck to his game plan and hasn't incurred any major blunders, helping him to build trust with investors.

He's also an African running African projects. Randgold isn't your regular Western miner who parachuted in and tried to operate. The market gives Mr. Bristow credit for understanding his environment, and for having the connections on the continent.

Randgold has been dealt some setbacks, including occasional higher costs, but for the most part it is one of the lowest-cost miners right now, something investors particularly value right now.

On the company's last quarterly conference call, Mr. Bristow took a small shot at some of his peers who haven't been able to do the same. "… Many gold mining companies are experiencing significant margin erosion, largely because … in the past they followed short-term market trends instead of looking further ahead for ways to ensure the sustainability of their businesses," he said.

In the near future, the company is working on growing production at its flagship Loulo-Gounkoto operation, which just passed the 500,000 ounce production mark. And it's currently building up its Massawa project in Senegal, which is expected to hit production in 2016.

As of last fiscal year-end, Randgold still hopes to hit the 1.2 million ounce a year market by 2015, and expected to produce 900,000 to 950,000 ounces this year.

However, future production expectations could jump. Just yesterday Reuters published a story in which Mr. Bristow said the falling gold price could convince him to ramp up exploration, because it will give him the opportunity to scoop up small miners who are struggling in this environment.

(Tim Kiladze is a Globe and Mail Reporter.)

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