UPDATE 2-Randgold sticks to 2012 target despite Mali
* Q1 profit up 126 pct year-on-year to $104 mln
* Profit, sales down on Q4, hit by expected lower grades
* Expects Mali operations to continue to run at full production
* Shares down 1.6 percent, underperform sector drop
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) - West Africa-focused miner Randgold Resources, seeking to brush off worries over unrest in Mali that have hit its shares, stuck to cost and output targets for 2012 after lower grades dented quarterly earnings.
Randgold said on Thursday its first-quarter results were largely unaffected by the disturbances in Mali, which did not begin until late in March.
One exception was a delayed shipment which meant just under 11,000 ounces of gold, worth more than $18 million, from its key Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex was unsold at the end of March.
Profit for the quarter rose to $104 million, more than double that in the 2011 period but down on the previous quarter's $145 million - an expected fall as it mined lower-grade ore at its Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali, and was hit by strikes and power cuts at its Tongon mine in Ivory Coast. Continued...