Anglo American continued its exploration activities in 2008. Exploration is undertaken in a range of frontier areas to more mature greenfield locations globally as well as in brownfield environments in close proximity to Anglo’s existing operations. Anglo’s exploration geoscientists are also involved in the identification and evaluation of properties for potential acquisition or alliance opportunities.
Anglo teams continued to advance exploration on recent discoveries, sole funded projects and alliances with other companies. Through 2008, excluding De Beers, the Group spent $212 million (2007: $157 million) on exploration in 21 countries. De Beers spent $96 million on exploration (2007: $126 million).
Anglo Base Metals spent $123 million during 2008 and continued focused exploration around its Chilean copper and Brazilian nickel and phosphate mines, in addition to zinc exploration adjacent to operations in Namibia, South Africa and Ireland. Its project pipeline was strengthened by early-stage discoveries of nickel-copper in Finland and zinc in Namibia. Advanced project work further evaluated the West Wall and Michiquillay copper projects in Chile and Peru respectively, the Jacaré nickel project in Brazil and the Gamsberg East zinc project in South Africa. Near-mine exploration efforts centred on resource evaluation of the San Enrique-Monolito project and other near-mine opportunities.
Anglo Platinum spent $36 million on an ongoing programme of exploration around existing operations in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa and the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe. International exploration was again focused on Canada (though reduced in scale), China, Brazil and Russia.
Anglo Coal’s exploration expenditure of $35 million was concentrated on evaluating, assessing and extending resources for export thermal and coking coal, domestic thermal coal and coal bed methane (CBM). In South Africa, further exploration was undertaken on the South Rand and Kriel East projects, and resources were successfully converted to reserves at Mafube and Zondagsfontein. A CBM gas-yield test was also evaluated in the Waterberg project area of the country, while exploration for CBM was initiated in Botswana following the granting of licences there. In Australia, exploration targeted the Saddlers Creek, Moranbah South and Grosvenor Projects, while in Canada the focus remained on the Roman Mountain project adjacent to the existing Trend Mine.
Anglo Ferrous Metals incurred $18 million on exploration for iron ore. In South Africa, this comprised both greenfield prospecting in the Northern Cape and brownfield activity at Sishen, Thabazimbi and Zandrivierspoort. In Brazil, activities continued at the Amapá system and Minas-Rio project.
During the year, De Beers spent $96 million on a focused global exploration programme with significant investment in both early and advanced stage programmes, concentrated primarily on accelerating high interest discoveries in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Canada. Early-stage exploration also continued in India, Namibia, Russia and South Africa with the emphasis on desktop targeting work and prospecting activities in focused ground holdings.