AngloGold Ashanti has awarded a $375m mining contract to the Underground Mining Alliance (UMA) at the Obuasi redevelopment project in Ghana.

UMA is a joint venture (JV) between African Underground Mining Services (AUMS) and Ghanaian mining contractor Rocksure International. AUMS owns a 70% stake in UMA and Rocksure holds the remaining 30% interest.

Under the terms of the contract, which is valid for a period of five years, UMA will deliver a full suite of underground mining services at Obuasi. AngloGold will provide major capital equipment.

AUMS chief operating officer Blair Sessions said: “We are pleased to be further extending our relationship with AngloGold Ashanti and look forward to working closely with the client, Rocksure, and the local community as we deliver on this project using modern and efficient mining methods, supporting local suppliers and providing employment and training opportunities to Ghanaians.”

The contract works are anticipated to commence in the first quarter of next year. During the course of the contract period, around 550 jobs are expected to be generated.

AngloGold Ashanti Group Planning and Technical executive vice-president Graham Ehm said: “Obuasi is an important investment in Ghana and we have worked hard with the Government of Ghana to progress the redevelopment of the mine as a modern operation.

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“This contract award is a major milestone towards recommencing production at Obuasi and delivering on outcomes that will benefit the national, regional, and local economies.”

The Obuasi project is estimated to contain 5.8Moz of ore reserves and 34Moz in mineral resource. It will have an initial mine life of around 20 years.

“We look forward to working closely with Rocksure and the local community as we deliver on this project.”

AngloGold placed the mine on care and maintenance in 2016 pending the commencement of the redevelopment project.

The company intends to develop a modern, mechanised underground mining operation and expects to produce first gold from the redeveloped project by the end of next year.

AUMS is a 50:50 JV between Australian diversified mining services company Ausdrill and hard rock underground mining services provider Barminco.