The five-year contract for the Obuasi gold mine was given to AUMS’ 70:30 joint venture with Ghanaian mining contractor Rocksure International, known as the Underground Mining Alliance (UMA).

AUMS, in turn, is a 50:50 joint venture between Ausdrill and Barminco.

Under its contract, UMA will be responsible for a full suite of underground mining services at the Obuasi gold mine with works expected to begin in the first quarter of CY2019. AngloGold Ashanti will take care of the major capital equipment.

AngloGold Ashanti group planning and technical executive vice president Graham Ehm said: “Obuasi is a key asset in AGA’s portfolio and to the Ghanaian mining industry. The mine will benefit many stakeholders for at least two decades.

“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.”

According to Barminco, nearly 550 people will work during the project term and will be dominantly Ghanaian with some expatriates giving training and development and specialist skills.

AUMS chief operating officer Blair Sessions said: “We are pleased to be further extending our relationship with AngloGold Ashanti and look forward to working closely with the client, Rocksure, and the local community as we deliver on this project using modern and efficient mining methods, supporting local suppliers and providing employment and training opportunities to Ghanaians.”

The Obuasi gold mine, which is located in the Ashanti region in southern Ghana, is mainly an underground mine operating at depths of up to 1,500m with a continuous history of mining since the 1890s.

The Ghanaian gold mine is located nearly 80km south of Kumasi and about 320km north-west of the country’s capital Accra.

In June 2018, AngloGold Ashanti secured environmental permits for the Obuasi gold mine, which enables it to execute the redevelopment of the large, high-grade ore body.

The South African gold miner will carry out the redevelopment of the Ghanaian gold mine in two distinct phases with the first gold pour expected in the third quarter of 2019.