AngloGold Ashanti awards $375 million Ghana-based mine contract

African Underground Mining Services and Accra-based Rocksure International enter a joint venture agreement.

Gold miner, AngloGold Ashanti, has awarded a joint venture (JV) agreement between African Underground Mining Services and Accra-based Rocksure International a $375-million (R5.5 billion) mining services contract at the Obuasi project, in Ghana.

AngloGold Ashanti announced on Monday that a five-year underground mining contract at the Obuasi project with Underground Mining Alliance Limited, a joint venture between African Underground Mining Services and Accra-based Rocksure International, has been finalised.

AngloGold Ashanti said the JV agreement will develop mechanised, underground mining expertise within Ghana’s local mining and engineering sector. Under the agreement, Rocksure will have a 30 percent stake in the JV and African Underground Mining Services will hold the remaining 70 percent.

Underground Mining Alliance will provide the full suite of underground mining services at Obuasi, with major capital equipment supplied by AngloGold Ashanti. Work on the Obuasi project is expected to start in the first quarter of 2019. About 550 people, predominantly Ghanaians, will be employed on the project team.

“We’ve worked closely with the Government of Ghana to progress the redevelopment of Obuasi Gold Mine into a modern, productive operation, making it a key asset in our portfolio for the long term,” said Graham Ehm, AngloGold Ashanti’s executive vice president for group planning and technical.

“This is also an investment in Ghana’s future, particularly in terms of local procurement, employment, training and development and overall mining capacity building, which will benefit the region and the economy for decades to come,” said Graham.

The Obuasi project, which has been primarily an underground operation, was placed on care and maintenance in 2016 pending the commencement of the redevelopment project.

In June 2018, the Parliament of Ghana ratified the regulatory and fiscal agreements that cover the redevelopment of the Obuasi Gold Mine and the Environmental Protection Agency issued environmental permits for the mine.

A previously published feasibility study on the Obuasi project found a 5.8 million-ounce ore reserve and 34 million-ounce mineral resource.

Mine production at the Obuasi project, which has mine life of roughly 20 years, will be focused on the upper orebodies for the first 10 years and is expected to average 350 000 oz to 450 000 oz at an average head grade of 8.1 g/t gold.