From West coast to West coast

Australians have a reputation for working hard and well overseas, whether it behind the bar in London or at the head of a media empire in New York.

They are recognised for going the distance and adapting to harsh environments.
And it is no different for the mining industry.

Adamus Resources, an Australian gold miner working in Ghana, is helping to change the country while uncovering gold deposits.

Like all companies mining overseas the real challenge is "the tyranny of distance and time issues," although Adamus’ chief executive Mark Connelly told Australian Mining that this is not the only problem that has to be surmounted when miners are working so far away from home.

Operating in Africa throws up a whole raft of challenges that would not normally be faced in Australia.

In particular there are the issues of safety and the environment, and interacting with a very different culture.

However, the fact that English is the official language in Ghana has made things much easier than operating in other African nations.

In facing challenges, Adamus has taken a very stringent environmental approach, especially in the way in which it structures its EIS.

According to Connelly, the Ghanaian Government was so impressed with Adamus’ EIS that it has now been adopted as their template.

It has also taken very unique approaches to the way in which it liaises with the locals near its Nzema gold project, which is located on the southern end of the Ashanti Gold Belt.

The company found that part of its prospect ran under a small existing village.

Realising that while the mine had a potential life of 25 years, the villagers were going to be there much longer; so the miner has planned and carried out schemes which will provide a long term benefit for those people who would be most affected by the construction of the mine.

Firstly, it did this by reconstructing the village less than one kilometre from its current position, building it using much longer lasting materials such as hydrofoam bricks, and constructing new civic buildings such as schools.

It also implemented running water and sewerage facilities as well as communications infrastructure.

The miner is currently looking at accelerating settlement of the new village.

Another of Adamus’ main focuses was the training and education of the local villagers.

Through building "facilities similar to TAFE colleges, we have provided training to over 150 youths in professions such as carpentry, welding and other trades, from which we have seen a tangible benefit," Connelly told Australian Mining.

Adamus also employs a number of locals on its projects "as the mine is the only employer within the region."

The miner has also taken a very consultative approach; maintaining an open grievance consultation book.

Health and safety, both on and off site, has also been the impetus behind a number of initiatives for Adamus Resources.

Stating that it has "very strict safety standards," he went on to say that the miner has had to "adapt Australian safety standards" to create a safer and more productive work place.

"We’ve only had about two lost time injuries," Connelly said.

Operating in Ghana itself is a fairly straight forward task and is exciting as it is a new frontier in mining, he explained.

With a fairly low sovereign risk factor and mining accounting for 40% of the nation’s GDP, as well as its position as the generator of 5% of the world’s total gold production, gold mining is always welcome in Ghana.

"The Government here fully endorses what we are doing in Ghana," Connelly said, adding that the company has been there since 2002.

The miner has a number of projects; however the main one is the Nzema Gold project which is located nearly 300 kilometres west of the nation’s capital – Accra.

It consists of a number of tenements covering approximately 665 km2.

The mine has a projected minimum mine life of 10 years with the possibility of an additional 10 to 15 years.

Nzema has a sulphide mineralisation running over nine kilometres.

It is aiming at production rates of 100 000 ounces per year in oxides at grades of 2.2g/T for the life of the mine.

The mine has access to the nearby port of Takoradi via 80 kilometres of sealed roads, and is also in close proximity to the country’s mining schools at Tarkwa.

It put a SAG mill in place in September 2010, with a plant capacity of 1.6 to 2.1 million tonnes per annum.

Adamus is targeting its initial gold pour during the first quarter of 2011.

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