Modern Mining February 2019


the importance of mining companies being profitable. This is a great acknowledgement from government. At the core, it is through profitable mining activities that communities are able to benefit.” While South Africa’s mining industry remains becalmed, notwithstanding the bet- ter mood within the sector, the same cannot be said for West Africa where something resem- bling a full-scale mining boom (mainly in gold) is underway. Apart from the presence of the Ghanaian President, there was an impres- sive attendance by mining ministers from the West African region, as well as from compa- nies active in the region, including Endeavour Mining, Perseus Mining, Barrick Gold (which has now absorbed Randgold Resources), Resolute Mining, B2Gold, Asanko Gold and Newmont. A particularly interesting session was a Main Stage discussion on Resolute’s Syama gold mine in Mali, with the two speakers being John Welborn, Resolute’s MD and CEO, and the company’s CFO, Lee-Anne de Bruin. Syama is – according to Resolute – the world’s first purpose-built, fully automated underground gold mine. As Welborn explained, mining at the main Syama open pit was completed in 2015, with ore for the mine’s 2,4 Mt/a sul- phide processing circuit having been sourced since then from stockpiles, satellite operations and, increasingly, from the new sub-level cave, where mining is being undertaken using auto- mated Sandvik equipment. Another West African mine that is making news at the moment is Obuasi in Ghana, which has been on care and maintenance since 2016 but which AngloGold Ashanti is now bringing back to life through the approximately US$500 million Obuasi Redevelopment Project. A ven- erable gold mine with more than a century of mainly underground operations behind it,

Above: AngloGold Ashanti’s Kelvin Dushnisky at the podium. Above right: Sébastien de Montessus, CEO and President of Endeavour Mining, one of the most dynamic gold companies operating in West Africa. Centre: Mark Bristow, CEO of Barrick, makes the case for the company to be viewed as the ‘value champion’ of the global gold mining industry.

Obuasi is being transformed into a modern, mechanised underground mine that will pro- duce an average of 350 000 oz to 450 000 oz during its first decade of operation, with the first gold pour expected by the end of this year. AngloGold Ashanti’s Kelvin Dushnisky, who joined the company as CEO in September last year, told delegates that Obuasi was a “transfor- mative asset” – both for AngloGold Ashanti and for Ghana – and described it as an “engine of growth” able to produce 8,6 Moz over 20 years at an AISC of US$725 to US$825/oz in its first 10 years. With Obuasi having been ‘invaded’ by literally thousands of artisanal miners in 2016, great care is being taken to ensure that strong ties are being cemented with the surrounding community and Dushnisky emphasised that local employment and procurement procedures had been put in place to maximise the benefits to local people. Two speakers who are ‘regulars’ at the Mining Indaba and whose views on the mining indus- try always arouse keen interest, Barrick Gold’s Mark Bristow and Ivanhoe’s Robert Friedland, were both speakers again this year. Bristow, for- merly the CEO of Randgold Resources and now CEO of Barrick (newly merged with Randgold),

36  MODERN MINING  February 2019

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