AngloGold Ashanti says the first week of underground development blasting has been completed at its Obuasi Redevelopment project in Ghana, as work to pour first gold by the end of the year gathers momentum.
The first blast, at about 7 pm on February 1, advanced development by around 4.2 m on the 2,700 level, which is accessed through the Obuasi Deeps decline from surface and is just over 700 m vertically below the decline portal, the company said. Benching and a number of additional face blasts have taken place since, with more than 14 m of advance recorded.
AngloGold Ashanti announced early last year it would invest $495-$545 million to recapitalise the iconic mine in Ghana, to develop its 6 Moz of high-grade reserve. The project will see Obuasi transformed into a modern, mechanised mine that will produce, on average, 350,000-400,000 oz/y of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $725-825/oz during the mine’s first decade of operation, according to AngloGold. Higher grades in the second decade of operation will see production improve further, it added.
AngloGold Ashanti, Chief Executive Officer, Kelvin Dushnisky, said: “The first blast was a significant milestone in transforming this important mine into a modern, productive operation. Our investment in Obuasi gold mine’s redevelopment will ultimately make this a key asset for Ghana, and for AngloGold Ashanti’s portfolio, for the long term.”
The project remains on track to produce its first gold by the end of this year, with ramp-up expected during 2020.
AngloGold Ashanti says it has committed to ensuring significant local content in the mine’s development and operation, through employment at all levels and procurement, notably through the creation of a joint venture between Australia’s AUMS and Ghana’s Rocksure, to undertake Ghana’s underground mining contract.
Development of the project is progressing as planned and it is expected that capacity will ramp up to around 1 km/mth of linear advancement in the second half of the year. Stoping operations are expected to start in the December quarter of this year as new production areas are accessed.