Business and Economics

AngloGold Ashanti to modernize Obuasi mines

Accra, Nov 19, GNA – AngloGold Ashanti Limited (AGA) says plans aree under way to modernize the 117-year old Obuasi mines to make it more vibrant and productive.

Accra, Nov 19, GNA – AngloGold Ashanti Limited (AGA) says plans aree under way to modernize the 117-year old Obuasi mines to make it more vibrant and productive.

          Mr David Noko, AGA Executive Vice President Sustainability, said the Obuasi mine had to properly address high costs, poor mining flexibility, low tonnages and deteriorating infrastructure, in order to ensure its long-term sustainable contribution to the local, regional and national economy.

          He said the mines would be placed on limited operations while a comprehensive feasibility study is completed next year to convert it into a new, highly productive mechanized operation that could properly develop the high grade reserve of 7Moz and resource of about 20Moz of gold.

          “Although AGA Ghana has over the past decade contributed over $ 577 million in corporate taxes, royalties, dividend, customs duties and employee taxes to the economy; of this $ 324 from Obuasi mine and the remainder from Iduapriem operation, the sharply lower gold price and worsening operational challenges required the current, holistic intervention to improve the quality prospects of the Obuasi mine’s long-term sustainability,” Mr Noko stated on Tuesday at AGA stakeholders meeting in Accra.

          “For many years, this national treasure and world-class ore has delivered well below its potential, making it imperative it undergo a systematic change to allow it deliver a significant and sustainable contribution to all stakeholders, including local communities and the country as a whole.”

          He said AGA Ghana had, with the cooperation of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) and in full compliance with the relevant laws and regulations, undertaken a phased programme of retrenchment at the mine.

          “In the past two years, about 3100 employees have received severance packages in line with an agreement reached with GMWU, and many on the basis of mutual agreement with the affected employees,” – the Executive Vice President said.

          “As at today, November 18, 2014, there are a total of 1300 full time employees and 1100 third-party contractors at the Obuasi mine.

          He said AGA continue to work with the Obuais Municipality in developing sustainable alternative economic activities in the town, where the majority of the economic activity is unrelated to Obuasi mine, reflecting the vibrancy of Obuasi’s non-mining economy.

          Mr Noko lauded the Government of Ghana, the Obuasi Municipality, GMWU and other key stakeholders for the support they had given AGA during this challenging, but necessary process.

          In a response to a question as whether AGA would sell the Obuasi mines, the Executive Vice President said, that was a matter for stakeholders to decide.

          Mr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, AGA Vice President Corporate Affairs, Ghana Office, urged stakeholders and the public to support them in the ongoing process to turn the fortunes of the mines around.

          Mr Prince William Ankrah, GMWU President commended the AGA for giving a good severance package to the retrenched staff.

          He said Ghana must learn from the California Gold Rush in the United States, to ensure the long-sustainability of the Obuasi mines and the Obuasi Community.

          Mr Steve Rickman, Senior Vice President Human Resources said despite the ongoing retrenchment at the Obuasi mines, the company was recruiting 888 new staff.

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