Obuasi, which has been primarily an underground operation, was placed on care and maintenance in 2016 pending the commencement of the redevelopment project. In June 2018, the Parliament of Ghana ratified the regulatory and fiscal agreements that cover the redevelopment of the mine and the Environmental Protection Agency issued environmental permits.
With the key permitting and regulatory processes finalised, the mining services contract could be signed as another key milestone in delivering a modern, mechanised underground mining operation with 5.8Moz of Ore Reserves and 30Moz in Mineral Resource, and a life of mine extending beyond 20 years.
Obuasi has operated at depths of up to 1,500m with a continuous history of mining dating back to 1897. The mining operations are located on a concession of approximately 201km2 (20,100ha) and within a largely forested region occupied by 240,000 people who are mainly subsistence farmers.
Underground access is via two main vertical shafts and a decline access while an additional shaft is used for dewatering the extreme north of the mine. The full extent of the underground operations is 8km.
Mineral extraction, by means of bacterial oxidation of the sulphide ore, is conducted at the South Treatment Plant, which has been in operation since 1993. Tailings are deposited at the South Tailings Storage Facility, located 4km to the northwest of the plant.