NEW AngloGold Ashanti CEO, Kelvin Dushnisky, has given a glowing endorsement of the prospects for the group’s Obuasi gold mine currently under development at a cost of $550m in Ghana.
Speaking at the Investing in Mining Indaba conference being held in Cape Town today Dushnisky – who joined AngloGold in September last year from Barrick – compared Obuasi to Barrick’s Goldstrike mine.
“Goldstrike was to Barrick what I believe Obuasi will be to AngloGold Ashanti. We need those big, chunky engines of growth which year after year provide reliable, predictable production and they don’t come along very often.”
Dushnisky said Obuasi was in “… a class of its own on a number of metrics”. He added AngloGold’s initial investment of $550m would generate gold production of between 400,000 ounces and 450,00 oz a year over a 20-plus year mine life.
Sustaining costs were expected to average around $800/oz meaning margins would be “very good” while there was the added benefit that, after 2019, AngloGold would no longer be paying $60m a year on care and maintenance at the mine, he said.
Dushnisky added the payback period on the investment was around six years at a gold price of $1,200/oz and commented: “The fact is there just are not a lot of orebodies like it in the world.”
Dushnisky stressed the lengths to which AngloGold Ashanti was going in order to ensure the benefits from the development of Obuasi were shared between the company and other stakeholders in the country.
“There is tremendous support for Obuasi from the Ashanti King and the president of Ghana. Stakeholder engagement is key to the success of this asset and it’s clear that climate and local content will be key to ensuring long-term support for the project.
“We also have to make sure Ghanaians are sufficiently trained and skilled to meet the needs of modern, mechanised, underground mining. Our recruitment priority will be from the existing Obuasi work force and, beyond that, the talent pool that exists in Ghana and, after that, it will cascade over.
“There are certainly some specialised skills that we need to bring in during the operational readiness phase and we are doing that in agreement with the government.
“We already have systems in place to ensure that Ghanaian successors are also trained up so they can ultimately fill these roles,” he said.