Engineering & Mining Journal

SEP 2018

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Page 23 of 75

REGIONAL NEWS - AFRICA 22 E&MJ • SEPTEMBER 2018 (Asanko), with Gold Fields acquiring a 50% stake in Asanko's 90% interest in the Asanko gold mine in Ghana. Asanko's published guidance for 2019-2023 is average annual production of 253,000 oz (100% basis). Gold Fields and Asanko have estab- lished various working groups to ensure that the Asanko Gold mine continues to operate in an efficient manner. "The closing of the transaction with Asanko gives us exposure to a great camp, with long-life, low-cost production, with significant exploration potential in a country we know well and have operated in for 25 years," said Nick Holland, CEO, Gold Fields. "The joint venture bolsters the Ghana region, with Tarkwa providing the base load production and Damang providing growth through the reinvestment plan current- ly under way. We look forward to working closely with our new partners," he added. Gold Fields Ltd. has seven operat- ing mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa, and a total attributable annual gold-equivalent production of ap- proximately 2.2 million oz. It has attrib- utable gold mineral reserves of around 49 million oz and gold mineral resources of around 104 million oz. Randgold Developing Super Pit at Gounkoto The Malian government has agreed to grant a 50% corporate tax reduction for the next four years to support development of a super pit at Randgold Resources' Gounkoto mine in southwest Mali. The expanded pit will be one of the largest opencast gold mines in Africa and will make a significant con- tribution to the Loulo-Gounkoto complex's 10-year plan, which envisages profitable production of more than 600,000 ounces per year (oz/y) at a gold price of $1,000/oz. Randgold's agreement with the govern- ment is a concession under the original Gounkoto mining convention, which includ- ed the right to apply for additional tax exon- erations should additional investments be made. Depending on the gold price and in- put costs, the potential revenue to the Ma- lian government from the Gounkoto expan- sion would increase by more than 100% when compared with the original Gounkoto feasibility study completed in 2009. "The agreement is another milestone in the mutually rewarding partnership between Randgold and the Malian gov- ernment," Randgold Chief Executive Mark Bristow said. "Over more than 20 years, that partnership has enabled us to bring Syama to account, develop Morila, and build Loulo-Gounkoto into one of the world's largest gold mines. "During that time, our operations have contributed $5.9 billion to the Malian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, dividends, salaries, and payments to local suppliers. The Malian government received $2.5 billion of that amount, which rep- resents more than 60% of the net cash gen- erated by the mines. Every year since 2010, Randgold's operations in this country have accounted for some 6% of Mali's GDP." Bristow noted that the Loulo-Gounko- to and Morila mines are managed entirely by Malians. In addition to their profitable results, he said, the mines also rank as world-class in terms of their health, safe- ty, and environmental management. During the second quarter of 2018, a ro- bust performance from Loulo's underground mines offset a reduced contribution from Gounkoto, where the pushback for the su- per pit is in progress. Since moving to owner mining at Loulo in 2016, the underground operations have delivered steady production increases and efficiency improvements. At Morila, mining of the Domba satellite pit has been completed, and the plant is now processing lower-grade tailings mate- rial. The Ntiola and Viper satellite deposits are scheduled for mining until early 2019, and closure of the Morila mine is planned for 2020. A project designed to mitigate the socio-economic impact of closure is awaiting final approval by the government. On the exploration front, brownfields work at Loulo is confirming the potential for reserve replenishment, while further afield, Randgold's search for another world-class gold deposit continues along a highly prospective 75-km strike on the Mali-Senegal shear zone. Implats Restructuring Rustenburg Operations Impala Platinum (Implats) has complet- ed a strategic review aimed at restoring its Rustenburg operations on the western limb of South Africa's Bushveld Complex to long-term sustainability and profitabili- ty. The planned restructuring is being im- plemented over a two-year period and will reduce Rustenburg's operating shafts from 11 to six, reduce future production from 750,000 ounces per year (oz/y) of platinum currently to 520,000 oz/y, and reduce the labor complement (employees plus con- tractors) from about 40,000 to 27,000. In a phased approach, operations will cease at end-of-life and uneconom- ic shafts, with future mining focused on profitable, lower-cost, high-value, and longer-life assets. Implats anticipates that the feed grade of platinum group elements to the mill will increase from 4.09 grams per metric tons (g/mt) to 4.25 g/mt over the two-year period. All-in unit costs will be reduced from R29,016 per platinum ounce (about $1,975/oz at current exchange rates) to less than R24,500/oz ($1,670/oz). The restructuring plan will be funded from internal facilities and the monetiza- tion of some inventory stocks. Implats CEO Nico Muller stated, "The only option for conventional producers today is to fundamentally restructure loss-making operations to address cash burn and create lower-cost, profitable businesses that are able to sustain operations and employment in a lower metal price environment. Implemented over a two-year period, the new plan will reduce Rustenburg's operating shafts from 11 to six. Above Implats Shaft No. 16. (Continued on p. 30)

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