AngloGold Ashanti discovers body of missing Obuasi miner

ANGLOGOLD Ashanti said the body of a missing miner involved in a geotechnical accident on May 17 at its Obuasi mine in Ghana had been discovered on Saturday.

“Our thoughts remain with the family and loved ones of our deceased colleague. May his soul rest in peace. Our gratitude goes to the mine rescue teams for their efforts over this period,” the company said in a statement today.

The gold miner said last week that it had suspended production at Obuasi indefinitely whilst it made an assessment of the mine design, mine schedule and ground management plans. It added today it would then progressively release mining areas for a phased resumption of gold mining.

Production guidance of 300,000 to 350,000 ounces at Obuasi had been suspended. Group production guidance for the 2021 year was estimated to be between 2.7 million and 2.9 million oz at an all-in sustaining cost of between $1,130/oz and $1,230/oz. Production for 2020 totalled 3.05 million oz.

The suspension of production – which goes beyond a Ghanaian government recommendation that AngloGold shut the affected area – could be “two weeks to two months,” Graham Ehm, AngloGold’s planning and technical executive vice-president, said last week.

“It is a small area of the mine but we want to pause and review before resuming stoping. We don’t want to rush that,” he said. Unlike a “classical fall of ground”, the collapse of the horizontal pillar was “… part of the integrity of the mine”, he said.

“We will only resume when we have cleared the site and a full assessment [has been made] area by area of the mine design and the ground management plan,” he said.

AngloGold poured its first gold at Obuasi in December 2019 after a five-year period of closure and re-engineering. Mining at the Obuasi tenement – once known as the Ashanti mine – has been underway since the nineteenth century.

The re-engineered Obuasi has been scoped to produce gold at an average rate of 350,000 oz to 400,000 oz a year for the first ten years, and at levels above 400,000 oz a year over the life of the mine at an all-in sustaining cost of around $800/oz.

The mine is a key element of AngloGold’s plans to grow group production to between 3.2 million oz and 3.6 million oz by 2025.