The Obuasi sulphide
treatment plant
at night
 
Accra, Ghana — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 September 2008 – AngloGold Ashanti Limited – Africa’s biggest gold miner – has turned around declining operations at its Obuasi mine in Ghana, and aims to boost its output by 21% to 435 000 ounces of gold next year.

With an established reputation as the world’s third largest gold miner, the company launched a three-year US$135 million (R1 billion) investment plan for the century-old Ghanaian pit earlier this year. “This initiative is now showing good results,” AngloGold Vice President for West Africa Christian Rampa Luhembwe told Reuters.

The new agency reports that the plan aims to increase Obuasi’s production gradually over the next three years to an average of 500 000 ounces per annum, and to extend the lifespan of the mine by 25 years to 2037.

“For the first time since 2004, Obuasi is moving ahead of budget by August, and we are seeing an exciting turnaround in operations,” Luhembwe added.

However, Obuasi produced 80 000 ounces in the second quarter of 2008, down 9% on the same period last year. Luhembwe blamed this mainly on lower delivered grades and lower throughput resulting from unscheduled stoppages for maintenance, and also on the negative impact of power outages in Ghana this year.

But he emphasised that the hoped-for improvement was already underway at Obuasi. “Obuasi is one of the best ore bodies in the world. It has been operating for over 100 years and with the plan in place, I cannot see any reason why it should not operate for another 25 years," Luhembwe said.

The mine has about 35 million ounces of resources, with 11 million ounces of un-mined reserves.