* Thousands of illegal miners had invaded mothballed mine
* Operation may now be sold or mechanised
(Adds details, quotes)
CAPE TOWN Feb 7 Illegal miners have "largely
been cleared" from AngloGold Ashanti's Obuasi mine in
Ghana and the company can now explore a number of options for
the asset including its possible sale or redevelopment, its
chief executive said on Tuesday.
The invasion of the loss-making, mothballed operation by
thousands of illegal miners made the asset a toxic one that
underscored the social and political risks of mining in west
"The military have done it without any injury or loss of
life," Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, who goes by the name Venkat,
told Reuters on the sidelines of an African mining conference.
Venkat said he had a constructive meeting in January with
Ghana's new President Nana Akufo-Addo and the company was in
early talks with the government about the future of the
loss-making mine, where operations were closed over two years
Venkat said the company was now looking at three options:
selling the mine or redeveloping it as a mechanised operation,
with or without partners.
There have been other signs of renewal in the mining sector
in Ghana. South Africa's Gold Fields said in October
that it would invest $1.4 billion to extend the life of its
Damang mine in Ghana.
(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)