AngloGold Ashanti said on Wednesday its head of corporate affairs in Ghana was killed on Saturday during a riot among illegal miners at its Obuasi mine, which is currently idle as the company waits for a partner for the operation.

"We can confirm that John Owusu was killed on Saturday," AngloGold Johannesburg-based spokesman Chris Nthite said.

Owusu died when a dispute between artisanal miners working on part of the Obuasi site and pressing for access to a larger portion of the mine escalated into a riot, senior union leader Samuel Dwamenah said from Obuasi.

Africa's top gold producer said earlier it would not look for a new joint venture partner for Obuasi until it had an investment agreement with the government.

Randgold Resources in December pulled out of a joint venture with AngloGold to redevelop Obuasi, a decision that could spell closure for one of Ghana's most important mines.