AngloGold retrieves body of missing miner after 11 days
AngloGold Ashanti has retrieved the body of a miner who was trapped together with others in an underground mining pit on May 18.
The body was retrieved on Saturday, May 29, 2021, but the company did not provide further details about the deceased.
“It is with great sadness that AngloGold Ashanti reports that the miner, missing after the geotechnical event at the Obuasi mine on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, has unfortunately passed away. On Saturday, May 29, his body was discovered by mine rescue team,” AngloGold Ashanti said in a statement.
The company had said that a crew from an underground mining contractor was working, tensioning brow cable bolts when the collapse, described in the mining industry as ‘fall of ground’, occurred.
The company also mentioned that a thorough investigation into the incident had been initiated.
Although the missing miner has been found, it added that mining activities remains suspended.
“As previously announced, underground mining activities were voluntarily suspended at the time of the incident and will remain so pending an in-depth area-by-area assessment of the mine design, mine schedule, and ground management plans, before progressively releasing mining areas for a phased resumption in production.”
The underground mining pit is part of the concession of Anglogold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine.
What is fall of ground?
Fall of ground is globally considered a major hazard in underground mines.
It is a situation whereby the roof or rib (shoulders) of an excavation collapses or falls.
Fall of ground is mainly characterised by several severe consequences, of which fatal injury is considered the worst. It generates various degrees of injuries and often causes the absence of personnel from active duties at the workplace.
Lack of caution or failure to comply with standard operating procedures (SOP), rules, good practices, or codes are some major causes of ground fall.
Other reasons include:
➢ Adverse geological conditions
➢ Seismic activity
➢ Inappropriate ground support design
➢ Uncontrolled ground vibration from overcharging blast holes
➢ Installation of inferior ground support materials
➢ Excessive water pressure
➢ Erosion of weak (fault) zones
➢ Rock mass weathering
AngloGold Targets Improvement In Safety
AngloGold Ashanti set new objectives towards efficiency and safety after posting impressive returns with increased dividends for investors for the first quarter of 2021.
AngloGold Ashanti recorded six fatalities in 2020, four at Mponeng in South Africa and two at Obuasi.
“Last week, on 16 February, we tragically lost another of our colleagues at our Serra Grande Mine in Brazil. We continue to invest considerable resources in understanding the root causes of all accidents – including high potential incidents or ‘near misses – in order to prevent reoccurrence.
“This year, we expect to implement an updated safety strategy across our business, with particular focus on the critical controls needed to eliminate what we call ‘high consequence, low frequency’ events,” the firm noted in its report.
Increase in profits and dividends
AngloGold Ashanti reported a fivefold increase in its full-year dividend payment for 2020, bringing huge returns to investors.
The multinational gold firm also added 6 million ounces of new Ore Reserve on a gross basis, as it chartered a return to growth.
The company declared a full-year dividend of approximately 48 US cents per share compared to a dividend of 9 US cents per share in 2019.