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BUNIA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - A ngloGold Ashanti has started construction at its confirmed 2.5 million ounces deposit Mongbwalu mine in north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the company said on Friday.
The firm aims to start pouring gold by the end of 2013 from the mine, which lies in the formerly war-torn region of Ituri, a renowned gold bearing area, said Richard Peattie, the mine's general manager.
"We want this to become one of the cornerstones for AngloGold Ashanti in this region," Peattie told Reuters.
The construction phase is being accelerated to prove the company's commitment to the region, where ongoing insecurity has hampered exploration, Peattie said.
The mine is expected to be the first of several projects on AngloGold's 6.000 km2 Ituri concession, where the company holds a 86.22 percent stake in a joint venture with the government.
"There's no doubt that this place has got immense potential, just a little bit of drilling that we've done around here would suggest that we can make this into something special," Peattie said, declining to give details of investment costs.
The Ituri region was the scene of brutal ethnic warfare during Congo's second civil conflict, which ended in 2003, and the area remains heavily dependent on informal artisanal mining to drive its fragile economic recovery.
AngloGold also has a 45 percent stake in a joint venture with Randgold and the DRC authorities in the Kibali mine project, which has probable reserves of more than 10 million ounces and is also expected to start producing by end-2013.