Contract miner Moolmans has been ousted at Yatela gold mine in Mali, where the mining contract has been awarded to Australian company African Mining Services (AMS), Mining Weekly Online learns.
AngloGold Ashanti and Canadian miner Iamgold each own 40% of the mine, and the Malian government owns the balance. AngloGold is the operator.
Iamgold said in a statement on Monday that Yatela was finalising details with a new contractor, and expected the new contract to reduce cash costs at the mine by about $40/oz compared with current costs.
Mining Weekly Online understands that AMS will assume responsibility for mining services in the third quarter of this year, after a transition period for the change-out or sale of the current mining fleet.
Iamgold CEO Joseph Conway said three weeks ago that Yatela was in the process of changing contractors, and that the contract at the Sadiola mine, also owned with AngloGold Ashanti, was under review.
The previous mining contract had expired late in 2007, and Yatela had continued to operated under contract extensions while paying a premium above previous contract rates, Iamgold said on Monday.
“Unable to reach a new agreement with the previous contractor, Yatela has engaged a new contractor.”
AMS is an operational company owned by Ausdrill Limited and offers contract surface mining services to the mining industry in West Africa.
Moolmans has had the contract to mine Yatela since May 2000 and was negotiating to retain in when it received notice from AngloGold Ashanti.
Moolmans was responsible for all mining operations at Yatela, including grade control and blast hole drilling, a full blasting service, load and haul of waste and ore, rehandling of ore at the crusher and construction of leach pads.
The personnel at Yatela consist of over 440 Malians and 27 expatriates, Moolmans says on its website.
The Yatela mine is situated in the west of Mali, in the semi arid Sahel region of the country.
Moolmans is also contract miner for AngloGold Ashanti at Sadiola and Siguri, which is up for tender.
It is understood that tenders were not invited for the Yatela contract.
According to Ausdrill's website AMS has contracts at Damang in Ghana, owned by Gold Fields of South Africa and at Chirano for Chirano Gold Mines Limited.
With reporting by Liezel Hill