Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti has received environmental permits for its Obuasi gold mine, in Ghana, paving the way for the redevelopment of the large and high-grade orebody.
The granting of the permits by Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency follows the Parliamentary ratifications of the regulatory and fiscal agreements that cover the redevelopment of the Obuasi mine, including a development agreement, tax concession agreement, security agreement and a reclamation security agreement.
AngloGold CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan on Wednesday said the redevelopment of the Obuasi mine as a modern and productive operation will progress and benefit stakeholders for at least two decades.
The mine has been in a limited operating phase since 2014, owing to the mine operating at significant losses for a prolonged period.
A previously published feasibility study on Obuasi found a 5.8-million-ounce ore reserve and 34-million-ounce mineral resource. Mine production for the first ten years will be focused on the upper orebodies and is expected to average 350 000 oz to 45 000 oz at an average head grade of 8.1 g/t gold.
The redevelopment will establish Obuasi as a mechanised underground mining operation.
The project implementation will be undertaken in two distinct phases. Phase 1 comprises project establishment, mine rehabilitation and development, as well as plant and infrastructure refurbishment, to enable production at a rate of 2 000 t/d for the first operation year.
Phase 1 is expected to take about 18 months, with the first gold pour expected in the third quarter of 2019.
The second phase includes refurbishment of the underground materials handling system, shafts and ventilation; and construction of the primary crusher, the semiautogenous grinding mill circuit, carbon regeneration, a new gold room and tailings storage facility.
The second phase is expected to take a further 12 months and will enable the operation to climb to 4 000 t/d. The operation is then expected to ramp up to 5 000 t/d, over the following three years.