Illegal mining threatens AngloGold African operation

Illegal workers have taken over AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine preventing the operation’s redevelopment.

The invasion of the site, one of the richest gold deposits in Africa, is forcing AngloGold to consider its options as an investor should the takeover continue. General manager Eric Asubonteng said the company fears “serious and lasting consequences if this situation is allowed to continue”.

“If this becomes continuous, AngloGold as an investor will consider other options.”

According to Business Day live, Asubonteng said, “Illegal miners have been looting large quantities of high grade gold bearing material for more than two months. In the process they are causing significant damage to critical infrastructure.”

He added that Anglogold is at an advanced stage of a study to determine the mine’s long term outlook and the possibility of restarting production.

The problem of illegal mining has often plagued AngloGold, with attacks involving hundreds of men seeking access to unused sections of Obuasi for illegal mining in January. This saw military deployed on the location. The miner’s head of corporate affairs, John Owusu, was also killed in the attacks after officials trying to escape from rampaging armed illegal miners accidentally ran over him with their vehicles.

In 2014 AngloGold fired its workers and stopped underground mining at Obuasi due to rising costs and the drop in gold price.

The miner is still looking for a partner for its redevelopment, following the crumbling of talks with Randgold Resources.

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