Randgold will lead and fund a development plan designed to rebuild the mine as a viable, long-life mining business with an attractive cost structure and returns.
No hope for retrenched staff
The new development, however, does not hold any hope for retrenched staff of the company, since the plan is to make the mine efficiently mechanised.
At the end of 2014, AngloGold Ashanti converted the Obuasi Mine to limited operations and ceased underground production and retrenched the workforce but continued to process tailings and started a feasibility study on the redevelopment of the mine.
At a press conference in Accra Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AngloGold Ashanti, Mr Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, said the development plan would build on the feasibility study with the intention of establishing a more focused, efficient and mechanised high-grade operation that was expected to take about four months to complete.
“If the development plan meets both parties’ investment criteria, and assuming all other conditions are satisfied, Randgold and AngloGold Ashanti will form a new joint venture company,” he said.
He said in 2012 AngloGold Ashanti initiated a programme to modernise the mine, principally by starting to develop a ramp access that would ultimately run from surface to high-grade blocks of ore underground.
That, he explained, would help in allowing greater ease in transporting people and materials underground and transporting ore to the surface and “a necessary step ahead of the envisaged transformation of the mine into a modern, mechanised operation”.
The CEO of Randgold, Mr Mark Bristow, said the company was expected to deliver the new development plan to both parties’ boards by January 2016.
The government of Ghana is expected to approve the implementation of the development plan, following which it will be ratified by Parliament.
“Obuasi is a world-class resource. We now have to see if we can convert it into a world-class mine. We have a long history of co-operation with AngloGold Ashanti and we look forward to working with it again on charting a new course towards a viable future for Obuasi,” Mr Bristow said.