AngloGold aims 5 km down to unlock 70 mln oz

Could unlock $125 bln worth of gold

By Ed Stoddard

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 19 (Reuters) AngloGold Ashanti, the world third largest gold miner, aims to use new technology to go 5 kilometres (3 miles) below the surface to unlock 70 million ounces, a conference heard cheap canada goose uk on Monday.

The drive to a $125 canada goose uk outlet billion resource will see blasting eliminated and remove humans from the stopes where gold is extracted, Mike MacFarlane, AngloGold senior vice president for technology, told a mining automation conference.

production is in decline. Our aim is to arrest that decline or even increase production, he said.

are standing on the canada goose clearance sale edge of Canada Goose Online a major shift Canada Goose sale in the way uk canada goose outlet people think about Canada Goose Parka underground mining. And it a shift that you see just once in a 30 to 40 year timeframe, he said.

AngloGold currently operates the world deepest mines and its canada goose store Mponeng operation is about 4 km deep. But MacFarlane said tens of millions of ounces could not canada goose clearance be accessed and so not making any money and there is no pull for investment.

South Africa mines are not only the deepest in the world but canada goose uk black friday are also among the most dangerous.

The country mines minister recently described the death toll as and said there was a link between the pursuit of profits and the body count.

With safety a huge concern as South African gold Canada Goose Outlet miners go deeper, MacFarlane said buy canada goose jacket cheap AngloGold was aiming to people from high risk activities. The driver of this project has been safety.

NO MORE BLASTING This would involve replacing blasting with uk canada goose machines to mechanically cut the rock and removing workers from the narrow passages known canada goose coats on sale as stopes in the next three to five years.

It is in the stopes where a lot of fatalities happen and MacFarlane said the aim was to replace humans using tools with machines that nobody would be exposed.

would like in 3 to 5 years to have a working model underground where we can start the transition to bring this non blasting canada goose coats approach across our cheap Canada Goose entire operations, he told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

Such changes would also enable the company to increase canadian goose jacket its extraction rates from around eight grams per tonne to 16 grams or more linked website .

This is because the stopes currently must be 1.5 metres (5 feet) high to accommodate a person, while the ore body is about 60 cms (2 feet).

A machine can canada goose uk shop extract from the body itself without the additional tonnage in waste that must be pulled out to fit a human operator.

Such technology may be needed to go Canada Goose Coats On Sale safely to new depths but it could also cost jobs, which is a sensitive topic in a country of 50 million with an unemployment rate of over 25 percent. Canada Goose Jackets South Africa mines are a crucial source of employment with a workforce of around 500,000.

Still, it could bring a lot more gold to the surface.

will potentially unlock 70 million ounces, MacFarlane told Reuters. At today spot price Canada Goose online over $1,800 an ounce that would mean over $125 billion worth of gold.

Gold record run has made companies look at new frontiers and sparked a wave of research and development activity.

South Africa Gold Fields, the world canada goose factory sale fourth largest gold producer, is looking at robots and other technology to boost safety canada goose black friday sale and cut costs as it too digs deeper .

Its chief executive hinted in a recent interview with Reuters that the company would soon make a major technological announcement canada goose or breakthrough.

South Africa for decades was the Saudi Arabia of gold but depths and rising costs have pushed it from the world top producer of buy canada goose jacket the precious metal to fourth place.

But over a century after the original gold rush it still has vast reserves running deep in seams spreading out from Johannesburg. (Editing by Jason Neely).