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KINSHASA, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Randgold Resources has signed three joint venture agreements with junior miners to explore potential gold deposits in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, its chief executive Mark Bristow said on Tuesday.
Randgold already operates the Kibali mine in northeastern Congo, a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti and state miner Sokimo. It also has a joint venture with Kilo Goldmines to explore for gold in the area.
The new joint ventures with the Toronto-listed Kilo, Deveron Resources and Loncor Resources more than double the size of Randgold's landholdings in Congo.
"We have offered them to take over their ground," Bristow told reporters in the Congo capital of Kinshasa. "If we discover any deposits and are able to deliver a pre-feasibility study, we get 65 percent of the joint venture."
Kibali and other new gold mines opened by companies like Banro Corporation have boosted Congo's gold output from near zero in 2011 to an expected 26 tonnes in 2015.
Randgold also announced on Tuesday that Kibali, which poured its first gold in 2013, was likely to exceed its 2015 production target of 600,000 ounces.
Congo, which hopes to become one of Africa's leading gold producers, increased output 69 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014 despite falling gold prices. (Reporting By Aaron Ross; Editing by Susan Fenton)