REPORT: Australia Gains Control of Gold Mining Industry
Australian owned mining companies account for approximately 50 percent of gold mining operations in Australia, according to a recent report by mining consultancy Surbiton Associates.
The shift in control is contributed to foreign investors selling off their stake in Australian mines, giving local companies more control of the country’s $12-billion gold mining industry.
“When the gold boom started in the early 1980s, Australia’s control of its domestic gold mining industry was around 80 percent,” says Surbiton director Dr. Sandra Close. “However, around the turn of the new century, there was a spate of overseas takeovers when the Australian dollar was weak and Australian control fell below 30 percent.”
The tide has changed with Australia climbing back, now owning 50 percent of Australian mines.
In the past year Canada’s Alacer Gold sold two of its mining operations to Australia-based Metals X and Northern Star purchased the Jundee mine from Colorado-based Newmont Mining.
“Several of the world’s largest gold producers have switched their strategy from chasing ounces to rationalization and cost reduction. This does not always sit easily in an Australian context as, unlike many other gold producing regions, Australia’s production comes from a considerable number of smaller mines, rather than a small number of larger mines,” said Close.
For years companies have held on to these Australian operations, viewed as long-term operations, as the amount of gold output contingent on the overall production schedule.
“So it looks great on paper, but the practicalities are such that much of our gold reserves are for the very long term. For a sustainable industry, we still need production from traditional primary gold deposits, and ongoing exploration is as vital today as it ever was,” Close added.
Australia is home to the world’s largest gold reserves.
AngloGold Ashanti establishes BG Umoja JV in Tanzania
AngloGold Ashanti, in line with it s strategy to ensure a sustainable contribution to the economies of host countries, has established the BG Umoja joint venture (JV), in Tanzania.
Awarded a $186m two-year mining contract for the Nyankanga and Geita Hill underground mining projects, the 80/20 joint venture is a partnership between Africa Underground Mining Services (AUMS) Tanzania, a subsidiary of Australia’s Perenti Group, and local drilling services and mining- supply company, Geofields Tanzania Limited.
The partnership is modelled on a similar underground mining joint venture at the Company’s Obuasi Redevelopment Project in Ghana between AUMS Ghana and Accra-based, wholly Ghanaian-owned Rocksure and will help build local specialised mining capacity.
“We’re working with our experienced mining contractors to assist in establishing local joint ventures for long-term transfer of sustainable skills, and to continue building on our sustainable local procurement programmes,” commented Sicelo Ntuli, AngloGold Ashanti’s Chief Operating Officer: Africa.
“AngloGold Ashanti is building sustainable local procurement programmes that will allow it to stimulate economic and social development at all of its operations, evidenced by the significant contribution Geita has made to the fiscus and people of Tanzania.”
AngloGold Ashanti’s annual expenditure with indigenous Tanzanian suppliers has almost tripled to $162mn since 2016. The company’s local team in Tanzania has set itself an ambitious target of 60% to 70% of all expenditures with indigenous Tanzanian companies, by 2025.
Scope 3 Emissions
In addition, AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita Gold Mine has awarded a two-year fuel transportation contract, worth approximately $10.8m a year, to two local contractors - one of which is originally from Geita. This is in line with the mine’s commitment to contribute to the economies of host communities. The Geita-based company was part of Geita Mine’s supply chain capacity building initiative for host community suppliers, a partnership between the Mine and the National Economic Empowerment Council.
To influence Scope 3 emissions, trucks are to be compliant with EURO IV emissions standards, tankers are to be made of an aluminium alloy material to reduce weight and the age of the fleet will be maintained at less than six years.
Diversity & Inclusion
The contractors already employ women fuel tanker drivers, fulfilling the Mine’s requirements for diversity and inclusion. The two contractors both own workshop facilities in Geita town and participate in social initiatives aimed at uplifting the lives of host community residents.
AngloGold Ashanti has been operating at Geita Gold Mine for more than 20 years, with the project initially a single pit mine, evolving now to a predominantly underground operation, employing 5,700 employees and contractors.
Earlier this year, the Government of Tanzania recognized AngloGold Ashanti’s contribution to the economy of the country, awarding it for its outstanding performance in a number of areas, including environmental and safety performance, corporate social investment, the best taxpayer in the mining sector, the runners up in local business content and overall best performer in the mining sector in Tanzania in 2019/2020.
Geita Gold Mine
Geita, one of AngloGold Ashanti’s flagship mines, is located in north-western Tanzania in the Lake Victoria goldfields of Mwanza region, about 120km from Mwanza and 4km west of the town of Geita. It has been in operation as a large-scale mine since 2000.