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Miners should do more to change perceptions – AngloGold CEO

08 Aug 2012
KALGOORLIE ( – Global miner AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani has called on mining firms to take responsibility for developing the industry’s and society’s perception of it, and not simply rely on government intervention.

Speaking at the final day of the Diggers and Dealers conference, Cutifani said miners had to take accountability for the current state of the mining industry, and for changing the perception of the industry.

“We have political structures that are looking to skin the industry for everything they can because they see a short-term buck to be made. And we haven’t helped with the way we have been arguing the case,” Cutifani said in Kalgoorlie.

He suggested that mining companies be open to the idea of further investing in social responsibility projects and to engage with local communities to foster a better understanding of the industry. However, he noted that the governments should be a part of this process.

“We can do a whole range of things with the government to develop infrastructure that makes a whole range of industries more competitive. Why not use that logic in Australia and establish a principle of open access?” he added.

Cutifani also advised miners to avoid the “politics of personality”, where industry and political personalities took aim at each other.

“We have been a little paranoid in the conversation, and maybe with good reason. But at the end of the day we have to put that aside and start trying to engage more constructively.”

Meanwhile, Cutifani also told delegates that AngloGold Ashanti was considering the underground development of its Tropicana and Sunrise operations in Australia.

At the Tropicana project, AngloGold Ashanti was estimated commissioning in the fourth quarter of next year, with engineering work 99% completed.

“Thinking of the underground development, the key thing we want to do is get underground quickly. We don’t want to make the mistakes of the past where we waited too long,” Cutifani told delegates.

The Tropicana project would produce an average of 300 000 oz over three years.

At the Sunrise development, Cutifani noted that while early, indications were that the project could support a large-scale underground operation.

The miner would spend some A$60-million on exploration to prove up resource at Sunrise in an effort to support a 15- to 20-year mine life, and Cutifani said that the operation could produce as much as 400 000 oz/y from an underground development.