Further Update on South Africa Earthquake
(JOHANNESBURG) – AngloGold Ashanti confirms that each one of the 3,300 people working underground at its Great Noligwa and Moab Khotsong mines early yesterday afternoon, when a 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck South Africa’s North West province, were safely hoisted to surface by 7:30pm
Twenty-eight employees who sustained minor injuries as a result of the event have received medical treatment and all have been discharged. Counsellors have assisted 17 employees with treatment for shock, and will remain on hand for others who may require their services. Importantly, all safety systems and protocols were observed and all employees and contractors were instrumental in ensuring the mine was cleared safely.
“Safely hoisting all 3,300 people to surface after an earthquake of this size is an achievement of which we’re immensely proud,” Mike O’Hare, AngloGold Ashanti’s Chief Operating Officer: South Africa, said. “Our infrastructure responded as it was designed to, and our safety protocols worked as they should. Our thanks go to every employee, the contractors on site and the management team who together made this outcome possible.”
AngloGold Ashanti’s own engineers and specialists, together with external seismology experts, are conducting intensive, real-time intensive monitoring of seismic activity in the region. Once it is deemed safe for inspection crews to proceed underground, a thorough examination of all underground infrastructure, as well as ore passes, haulages and working areas, will take place. At this stage, vertical infrastructure is functioning well and the inspections conducted immediately after the earthquake suggests that these shafts sustained only minor damage. Electronic systems that monitor various aspects of our underground areas are also working normally, allowing us to remotely draw information from a large portion of both mines.
In parallel with this process, AngloGold Ashanti is in close contact with engineers from Eskom Holdings Ltd., the state-owned power provider, to establish when fully redundant electricity supply will be restored. AngloGold Ashanti would like to commend Eskom for working quickly to restore the current feed to our Vaal River Operations, which has allowed for cooling of underground areas to continue.
Once it is clear that we have the correct power feed and underground areas and infrastructure are deemed safe, a decision will be made on resuming normal shifts. At this stage, we will wait for the appropriate underground conditions and then conduct thorough assessments. AngloGold Ashanti intends to provide a more detailed update on the status of the underground operations on Monday, August 11.
AngloGold Ashanti’s West Wits operating region and the Kopanang mine in the Vaal River area, were not affected by the event.
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 yesterday’s earthquake, accounted for roughly 7% of total group production last year.