By Guest Contributor
Fatalities in Africa’s gold mines have always been a problem. This is troubling but common news, with around 100 -120 casualties being reported every year. As for AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU), 16 fatalities in 2009 happened in their mines in South Africa.
Since 2007, AngloGold Ashanti was able to reduce their operational casualties by around 70%, thanks to the efforts of a safety program spearheaded by the company’s very own CEO Mark Cutifani. With its new technology called Reef Boring, the company might even reduce its casualty to nothing in years ahead.
The company’s new Reef Boring technique is specifically developed for deep-level mining. It involves the use of small machines that would be able to extract more gold in pre-mined areas. After mining out the gold using reef boring, AngloGold Ashanti would then inject interconnecting holes in the mine that would be filled with a hardening chemical. The Reef Boring technology not only maximizes the extraction of gold from mines, but it also makes the work life of miners safe by stabilizing the ground. AngloGold Ashanti expects that the life of their South African mines will extend by 30 years more with Reef Boring.
Most gold mines use drills and explosives in mining gold, which are both tedious and dangerous. Investment site BullionVault explains that mining technology is very expensive because extracting huge quantities of ore, which by itself costs a lot, only yield minimal results. The costs for extracting ores, of course, don’t cover yet the purification process of the precious yellow metals. With Reef Boring, however, AngloGold Ashanti hopes that they could revolutionize the traditional, and often dangerous, business of gold mining.
Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) may be the world’s largest gold producer right now but AngloGold Ashanti’s Reef Boring technology just might change things in the future.