AngloGold Obuasi mine to resume operation mid-October

BY: Kweku Zurek
AngloGold Obuasi mine to resume operation mid-October

AngloGold Ashanti Limited has announced that underground operations at its Obuasi gold mine in Ghana are expected to resume in mid-October.

The mining company had suspended underground activities at Obuasi in May following an accident.

AngloGold in a news release issued on Thursday said for the remainder of this year, underground ore will be used only to replenish the Run-of-Mine stockpile.

Meanwhile, gold production from its underground ore sources is expected to resume in January 2022.

"The safe ramp up to the full mining rate of 4,000 tons per day is expected to be achieved by the end of the first half of 2022," the release said.

AngloGold expects production of 240,000-260,000 ounces of gold for 2022 as the mine ramps up production.

This will increase to 320,000-350,000 ounces a year from the fourth quarter of 2022 until the completion of the third phase of the project to re-develop Obuasi in the fourth quarter of 2023. Afterwards, between 2024 and 2028, production is anticipated to average between 400,000 and 450,000 ounces.

Suspension

Mining operations were first suspended on May 18, 2021, following the disappearance of a miner after an underground accident.

The miner who was an employee of a mining contractor that works with AngloGold was found dead on May 29, 2021.

Underground mining operations at Obuasi had been suspended since that accident.

About the Obuasi mine

The Obuasi Gold Mine is one of the world’s largest gold ore bodies, with 29.5Moz of Mineral Resource, at an average grade of 7.64 grams per tonne and 8.7Moz of Ore Reserve at an average grade of 8.6 grams per tonne.

Obuasi, an underground operation, mining to a depth of 1,500m, is in the Ashanti region, approximately 60km south of Kumasi. The mine currently employs 850 staff and 3,360 contractors, with about 97.5% of all positions filled by Ghanaians.

Obuasi was in limited operations in 2015, and on care and maintenance from 2016 to the start of its redevelopment in mid-2018, following the receipt of the requisite approvals from the Government of Ghana. The first face blast took place in February 2019 with first gold poured in December 2019.

Phase 1 of the redevelopment project was completed by end September 2020 and began commercial production on 1 October 2020. Phase 2, construction and mine development was substantially completed at the end of June.

The Company has an active youth apprenticeship programme, with graduated 55 young artisans last year and another 80 enrolled in 2021. In addition, 13 people are currently enrolled in its graduate trainee programme. AngloGold Ashanti facilitated the opening in 2019 of the Obuasi campus of Ghana’s renowned Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), through the provision of campus buildings and accommodation for staff and students. The satellite campus now has 1,000 students enrolled in a number of Bachelor of Science courses.

Local businesses are prioritised in Obuasi’s supply chain, with more than 80% of the total investment in the mine’s redevelopment spent in Ghana, split evenly between wholly Ghanaian owed businesses and multinationals registered in Ghana. The support of local businesses is a key strategic objective for the Company, and 100 small and medium sized businesses have been trained and certified through the Company’s Enterprise Development Programme.

AngloGold Ashanti’s malaria control programme in the Obuasi area is one of the continent’s most successful public health initiatives, with a 90% reduction in malaria cases since the intervention started in 2005. We work with the Global Fund on this malaria programme, extending to 16 districts in Ghana, protecting more than one million people. This has led to a significant drop in related school as well as work absenteeism and creates more than 1,300 seasonal community jobs each year.

The mine has played a key role in the fight against COVID-19 in the Obuasi area, providing healthcare facilities for the community as well as personal protective equipment, sanitiser, handwashing facilities and public education to help contain the virus outbreak.