Business

Stopes accident forces AngloGold to suspend 2021 guidance for Obuasi gold mine

A recent accident at AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi gold mine that led to the suspension of operations to pave the way for the ongoing search and rescue of one missing miner, has forced the company to suspend its 2021 guidance for the Ghana mine.

In a statement, AngloGold said “mine rescue teams continue to work carefully in difficult geotechnical conditions underground” to locate and rescue the missing miner.

“The current suspension, investigation and review of future mining fronts, will result in a delay to the ramp-up of production at the Obuasi Gold Mine and reduced production in 2021 for the Obuasi Gold Mine and, consequently, the company”, AngloGold noted.

At the beginning of 2021, Obuasi’s estimated contribution to 2021 guidance was production of 300,000oz to 350,000oz, at an estimated total cash cost of $660/oz to $710/oz, and an estimated all-in sustaining cost of $950/oz to $1,050/oz.

The mine produced 46,000oz in the first quarter of 2021 at a total cash cost of $968/oz and an all-in sustaining cost of $1,234/oz.

Production thus far in the second quarter, from 1 April 2021 to the suspension of underground mining activities on 18 May 2021, was 34,000oz.

Also, infrastructure refurbishment and construction linked to Phase 2 of the redevelopment project are continuing while underground development activities will recommence once they have been cleared as safe.

As the investigation progresses and the assessment of working places advances, “we will provide additional detail on the estimated impact on this year’s production and ramp-up of the Obuasi Gold Mine”.

In the meantime, AngloGold Ashanti noted, “in light of the above operational interruption at the Obuasi Gold Mine, we are suspending our production and cost guidance for 2021 as it relates to Obuasi”.

Read the full statement below:

AngloGold Ashanti’s Further Update on Search for Missing Miner at Obuasi Gold Mine and Impact of the Suspension of Underground Mining Activities

AngloGold Ashanti confirms that the search for a miner, missing after a fall-of-ground incident a week ago at the Obuasi Gold mine in Ghana, is ongoing as mine rescue teams continue to work carefully in difficult geotechnical conditions underground.

Our thoughts are with our missing colleague and his family, who are receiving support from us at this difficult time. All underground mining activities at the Obuasi Gold Mine were voluntarily suspended after the incident on 18 May 2021 and remain so at this time.

The company will continue to work closely with local authorities throughout this process.

Early indications are that this geotechnical incident was likely caused by the failure of a horizontal, or sill pillar, in one of the mine’s smaller mining stopes.

A thorough investigation into the event has been initiated.

The company will also undertake an in-depth area-by-area assessment of the mine design, mine schedule and ground management plans, before progressively releasing mining areas for a phased resumption in production.

“Our top priorities right now are the search for our missing colleague and to provide support to his family,” Interim Chief Executive Officer Christine Ramon said.

Impact on 2021 Production

At the beginning of 2021, Obuasi’s estimated contribution to 2021 guidance was production of 300,000oz to 350,000oz, at an estimated total cash cost of $660/oz to $710/oz, and an estimated all-in sustaining cost of $950/oz to $1,050/oz.

The mine produced 46,000oz in the first quarter of 2021 at a total cash cost of $968/oz and an all-in sustaining cost of $1,234/oz.

Production thus far in the second quarter, from 1 April 2021 to the suspension of underground mining activities on 18 May 2021, was 34,000oz.

The current suspension, investigation and review of future mining fronts, will result in a delay to the ramp-up of production at the Obuasi Gold Mine and reduced production in 2021 for the Obuasi Gold Mine and, consequently, the company.

Infrastructure refurbishment and construction linked to Phase 2 of the redevelopment project are continuing, while underground development activities will recommence once they have been cleared as safe.

As the investigation progresses and the assessment of working places advances, we will provide additional detail on the estimated impact on this year’s production and ramp-up of the Obuasi Gold Mine.

In the meantime, in light of the above operational interruption at the Obuasi Gold Mine, we are suspending our production and cost guidance for 2021 as it relates to Obuasi.

The company will host a market call at 16h00, Johannesburg time, today, Wednesday 26 May 2021.

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 grammes per tonne and 8.7Moz of Ore Reserve at an average grade of 8.6 grammes per tonne.

Obuasi, an underground operation, mining to a depth of 1,500m, is in the Ashanti region, approximately 60 km south of Kumasi, the regional capital.

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 97% complete at the end of the first quarter of 2021, with the production ramp up in progress.

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-owned 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.

The miner works 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 school- as well as work-related 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.

Source: ClassFMonline.com

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *