On 30 September 2021, the Company announced that underground ore mining at the Obuasi gold mine in Ghana was expected to resume by mid-October 2021. The first stope blast took place on 15 October 2021. For the remainder of this year, underground ore will only be used to replenish the run-of-mine stockpile.
Gold production from underground ore sources is expected to re-start only in January 2022. The safe ramp-up to the full mining rate of 4,000 tonnes per day is expected to be achieved by the end of the first half of 2022. Underground mining activities at Obuasi were voluntarily suspended following a sill pillar failure on 18 May 2021, which resulted in one fatality.
A comprehensive series of protocols has been introduced to supplement existing operating procedures at the Obuasi mine. These protocols, which have been integrated into the mine operating system, include scheduled audits to ensure the accuracy and diligence in probe drilling and the implementation of the revised plan.
External consultants will continue their review of future mining areas. It is estimated that these supplementary operating procedures will add about $10 to $20 per tonne to the mine’s operating costs, or about $50/oz. There is no material change to the mine plan or to Obuasi’s published Ore Reserve and Mineral Resource.
During the third quarter of 2021, underground development and work related to the Obuasi redevelopment project continued to progress. Phase 2 construction was substantially complete at the end of June 2021. Phase 3 of the project, which relates principally to extended capital expenditure to refurbish existing infrastructure around the KMS Shaft, as well as to service the mine in deeper production areas, has progressed during the third quarter of 2021 and will continue as planned through to the end of 2023.