Ausdrill and Barminco joint venture contractor African Underground Mining Services has secured a $US375 million ($530 million) contract at AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi project in southern Ghana.
The five-year contract was awarded to Underground Mining Alliance Limited, a 70:30 joint venture between AUMS and Ghanaian mining contractor Rocksure International, with major capital equipment supplied by AngloGold Ashanti.
Obuasi is primarily an underground mine operating at depths of up to 1500m with a mining history dating back to the 1890s.
AngloGold Ashanti said the mine was placed on limited operations in late 2014 and has been on care and maintenance since 2016 while it looked at ways to modernise the operation.
The UMAL contract is due to start early next year, providing employment for about 550 workers.
AUMS chief operating officer Blair Sessions said the Obuasi project would support local suppliers and provide employment and training opportunities to Ghanaians.
Graham Ehm, AngloGold Ashanti’s executive vice-president – group planning and technical said Obuasi was a key asset for the company.
“The mine will benefit many stakeholders for at least two decades,” Mr Ehm said.
“This contract award is a major milestone towards recommencing production at Obuasi and delivering on outcomes that will benefit the national, regional, and local economies.”
Since commencing operations in Ghana eight years ago, AUMS has trained more than 1200 Ghanaians through a range of mining, engineering, and apprenticeship programs.
The contract win comes less than a week after Ausdrill shareholders agreed a $700 million takeover of Barminco, which has been majority-owned by Gresham Private Equity. The other main shareholders are Barminco founder Peter Bartlett and former Ausdrill managing director Ron Sayers.
Under the deal, Ausdrill will acquire all of Barminco’s equity in exchange for about $243.4 million in Ausdrill shares and $25.4 million cash.
Barminco last week secured a four-year extension at Independence Group’s Nova nickel-cobalt-copper mine in the Fraser Range worth $240 million.