AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-largest producer of the metal, shut its TauTona mine near Johannesburg for about a week after an earth tremor damaged the shaft used to take workers underground.
While the tremor was “fairly minor,” measuring 0.9 on the Richter scale, it caused “minor damage” to the shaft, according to Alan Fine, a spokesman for the Johannesburg-based company. Workers who had already traveled down the shaft were evacuated through AngloGold’s adjacent Savuka mine, Fine said today by telephone, adding that no one was killed or injured.
South Africa has the world’s deepest gold mines. Seismic events occur frequently, a result of natural causes and the stress that mining places on the rock. Almost half of the 128 mine deaths that occurred in the country last year were at gold operations.
AngloGold fell 3.33 rand, or 1.1 percent, to 306.37 rand at the 5 p.m. close in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 117.6 billion rand ($16.4 billion).
TauTona, where mining takes place 3.64 kilometers (2.3 miles) below the surface, 70 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg, accounted for about 15 percent of AngloGold’s South African output in the third quarter last year, yielding 71,000 ounces.
AngloGold will probably comment on the impact of the tremor on production on Feb. 17, when it releases its annual financial results, Fine said.
Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. are the world’s largest gold producers.
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