Newmont begins Ahafo underground mine production in 2018
Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) is scheduled to begin preliminary construction for its proposed underground project at its Ahafo Mine in 2017 as a prelude to commercial production slated for the 3rd quarter of 2018.
However, the project is subject to acquisition of permit from the regulator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and full funding approval by the Newmont’s Board of Directors.
The Ahafo Subinka Underground mine project is estimated to produce about four million ounces of gold and extend the Ahafo Mine’s life to 2033. It is also expected to increase contribution to the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) by 17 to 25 million dollars as well as provide about 600 permanent job opportunities at its peak production and scale up royalties to the government.
Since production started at the Newmont Ahafo Mine in the Brong Ahafo Region, it has been engaged in surface mining and poured its first gold in 2006. The mine has since achieved over five million ounces of gold, paying about US$500million in taxes and royalties. On the other hand, contributions into NADeF, its corporate social investment body has accrued to over US$24million.
Addressing a public hearing organized by the EPA at Kenyasi in the Asutifi North District, Joshua Mortoti, Acting General Manager, Newmont Ghana’s Ahafo Mine said the mine in the last ten years has undergone ‘remarkable growth’ in its quest to transform mineral resources into shared value for its stakeholders.
The Subinka underground project he stated: “marks a significant chapter in our growth story as we seek to develop our first underground mine in Ghana, hence the interest of stakeholders to successfully develop it.”
“Over the period, we have engaged extensively with stakeholders on issues related to the scope of the project, migration of project impacts as well as the benefits associated with the project. We believe that the plans we have put together for this project will benefit all-government, our communities and the company as well.”
Mr. Mortoti noted that the project was being considered at a time when the challenges that confronted the mining industry a few years ago still lingers on. Among the challenges include spectre of volatile gold prices, high cost of inputs and looming declining ore grades.
“Around this time, investment for capital projects has gone down considerably with companies taking a more critical look at projects that will bring a lot of more value and can be executed at a lowest cost. It is against this background that the prospect of developing the Subinka underground project should therefore be seen as positive news for Ahafo,” he said.
The Head of Mining at EPA, Michael Sandow Ali underscored the importance of the public hearing ahead of such project as enshrined in the Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999, LI 1652. He urged Newmont to ensure that all negative effects of the project would be adequately catered for, adding “the EPA will not allow anything untoward happens to the communities.”
Nana Barima Twereko Ampem II, Ntotrosomanhene appealed to Newmont to employ more of the locals should the project come on stream. This, he said, will help reduce the teeming unemployed youth population in the Ahafo area, who have always been agitating over what they describe as “neglect” by the company.