KALGOORLIE (miningweekly.com) – Gold major AngloGold Ashanti on Wednesday said that it did not have firm timing for its exit from South Africa, but that the move would be "sooner rather than later".
The miner in May this year announced the start of a process to divest of its remaining assets in South Africa, which includes the Mponeng underground mine and a surface rock dump processing business and mine waste treatment operation called Mine Waste Solutions.
AngloGold Ashanti VP for corporate affairs, community and HR, Andrea Maxey told delegates at Diggers & Dealers on Wednesday that the Mponeng operation would require "significant" investment to extend the mine life beyond the current eight years.
“Relative to the other higher return assets in our portfolio, and give the limited capital, we have come to the conclusion that we are unlikely to be in a position to fund a mine life extension at Mponeng,” Maxey said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, AngloGold Ashanti senior VP Mike Erickson said that the investment required at Mponeng would likely run into the ‘hundreds of millions" of dollars.
However, he noted that it was not only the capital spend required at Mponeng that was the deciding factor for AngloGold Ashanti’s departure from South Africa, with operational safety also playing a part.
“I think we consider the political climate, the Reserve Bank, all sorts of aspects come into play in the decision,” Erickson said.
Maxey noted that the company would maintain an office in South Africa, which would act as a central office for its remaining assets in Africa, which include the Obuasi project, in Ghana.
Acquired in 2004 in its merger with Ashanti Goldfields, the Obuasi project was placed on care and maintenance in 2013 following a fall in the gold price.
The miner last year announced that it would invest between $495-million to $545-million to restart the operation to produce between 350 000 oz/y to 400 000 oz/y with a mine life of 21 years.
The capital spend would be spread over six years, with Maxey noting that around $500-million would be spent in the first two-and-a-half years.Obuasi is on track to produce its first gold by the end of this year.To subscribe email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here To advertise email email@example.com or click here Comment Guidelines