JOHANNESBURG, Feb 20 (Reuters) – AngloGold Ashanti will spend up to $500 million to mechanise its Obuasi mine in Ghana, capping a dramatic saga for an asset rendered worthless when it was invaded by thousands of illegal miners.
The company announced last year that Ghana’s military had cleared out the illegal miners, who had numbered up to 12,000 at one point, from Obuasi in the Ashanti region.
This paved the way for the company to carry out a feasibility study to see if fresh life could be breathed into the century-old mine.
The study concluded Obuasi could be revived, not as a conventional, labour-intensive mine but as an automated operation — the latest pivot to mechanised mining in Africa.
“Obuasi now has the mine and labour plan, geological understanding and social model to match its world-class, high-grade ore body,” said AngloGold CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, known as Venkat.