(JOHANNESBURG) – AngloGold Ashanti is in the process of safely restarting its Great Noligwa and Moab Khotsong mines which were halted following a 5.3 magnitude earthquake that originated in the vicinity of the town of Stilfontein, on August 5.

The mines are being restarted in a phased fashion, following evaluation of seismic activity in the area and after thorough inspections of vertical shafts and horizontal underground infrastructure. Work has been underway over the past three days to complete these inspections ahead of the first production shift scheduled to start tonight, Monday August 11. Repairs to affected areas and equipment are ongoing.

Based on the inspections to date, ongoing work underground and on surface, and an understanding of the likely power-supply scenarios, and assuming no further tremors affect production, AngloGold Ashanti estimates that the interruption to operations resulting from last week’s earthquake will result in lost output of about 30,000oz of gold. This also includes down time at the Mine Waste Solutions surface operation, which was affected by an extended power interruption, and also down time at the neighbouring Kopanang mine which was taken off line to undertake a precautionary inspection of infrastructure. This estimate of lost production, and the consequential impact on unit costs, may be adjusted higher or lower as our recovery work continues.

“Safety remains the top priority in restarting these operations as we ramp-up production levels, which will take some time to complete,” Mike O’Hare, AngloGold Ashanti’s Chief Operating Officer: South Africa, said. “At no point will safety be compromised.”

In total, 3,300 people working underground when the earthquake occurred were safely hoisted to surface within seven hours of the event. Twenty-eight people were treated for minor injuries and discharged, while trauma counselling was provided to those employees and contractors who required it. Supervisors at those mines have been trained to identify our colleagues who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress, and to ensure that they receive proper care.

AngloGold Ashanti is actively involved with local government and civic organisations in providing assistance where necessary as the local community continues to recover from this incident.

More about AngloGold Ashanti

AngloGold Ashanti is a global gold producer with 20 operations spanning 10 countries. In 2013, AngloGold Ashanti produced 4.105Moz of gold at a total cash cost of $830/oz. In 2013, Moab Khotsong produced 212,000oz at a total cash cost of $797/oz and Great Noligwa produced 83,000oz at a total cash cost of $1,100/oz. Together, these two mines affected by last week’s earthquake, accounted for roughly 7% of total group production last year.