MAC: Mines and Communities

Ghana - AngloGold Says Troops Need to Protect Mine After Attack

Published by MAC on 2016-02-10
Source: Bloomberg (2016-02-09)

AngloGold Says Ghana Troops Need to Protect Obuasi After Attack

Andres R Martinez


9 January 2016

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. asked Ghana to redeploy troops at its Obuasi mine after an employee died in an attack by hundreds of illegal miners on the facility last week.

The military withdrew from Obuasi on Feb. 2 following several attacks at the site on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, the Johannesburg-based company said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. Days later, hundreds of illegal miners stormed the mine about 260 kilometers (161 miles) northwest of the capital, Accra, killing a staff member.

“The onus for ensuring safety and security of individuals and property in any country, and therefore restoring safety and security to the site, lies with the authorities,” the company said.

AngloGold fired workers and put the mine on limited operations last year as costs soared and the price of bullion fell. The company needs to boost investment to gain access to the mine’s estimated 5.3 million ounces of gold deposits. Talks with Randgold Resources Ltd. to develop the site together fell apart in December. Anglogold plans to keep searching for a partner and find a solution for the mine before the end of the year.

Land and Natural Resources Minister Nii Osah Mills and Aggrey Quashie, an army spokesman, didn’t answer calls to their mobile phones or respond to text messages seeking comment. The Chamber of Mines has an agreement with the military that offers soldiers to protect mines, according to AngloGold.

Gold plunged more than 10 percent last year, forcing producers in Ghana to cut production and fire employees, before rebounding this year. It’s risen 13 percent in 2016, the best start since 1980, as mounting concerns over global economic growth have boosted demand for safe haven assets.

Ghana is Africa’s second-largest producer of the metal, after South Africa.

AngloGold Ashanti asks for troops protection for workers after attack

The government withdrew the military from the mine on Tuesday, 2 February, after an initial incursion on 30 and 31 January 2016 by illegal miners.

Abu Mubarik

10 February 2016

Mining giant, AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) has asked for troops protection in Obuasi following an attack by illegal miners on workers of the company that resulted in the death of the Communications Director of the company, Mr John Owusu.

The government withdrew the military from the mine on Tuesday, 2 February, after an initial incursion on 30 and 31 January 2016 by illegal miners.

"The onus for ensuring safety and security of individuals and property in any country, and therefore restoring safety and security to the site, lies with the authorities," AGA said in a press statement.

Mines in Ghana are protected by the military following a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ghana Army and the Chamber of Mines, on behalf of its members.

The company said it has withdrawn all "employees performing non-essential functions from its Obuasi Gold Mine, following the incursion of hundreds of illegal miners inside the fenced operational areas of the site since 5 February 2016."

A conditional Investment Agreement between AGA and Randgold Resources Limited was terminated by the latter in December last year, saying it does not " Meet the company's criteria".

Although AngloGold Ashanti and Randgold  agreed on works towards improving returns of the project and also secure an appropriate set of consents from the Government, initial feasibility studies discouraged Randgold from proceeding with the deal.

Anglogold Ashanti cedes off 60% of Obuasi concession to govt

10 March 2016

Anglogold Ashanti has confirmed that the process to surrender 60 percent of its Obuasi Concession to government has been completed.

The area which has been ceded covers about 273 square kilometers.

There had been recent clashes between local miners and officials of the gold mining company over a mining concession.

A communications director of AngloGold died when a company vehicle run over him during a swoop on the galamsey operators.

The firm in a statement also reiterated its call on government to reinstate previous security arrangements in a bid to protect the concession.

-- Below is the full statement

AngloGold Ashanti Implements Surrender of 60% of Obuasi Concession; Renews Call for Security;

AngloGold Ashanti has confirmed that the voluntary process which AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited (AGAG) commenced in November 2013, to surrender some 60% of the Obuasi mine concession to the Government of Ghana, has been implemented by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

This will provide an opportunity for the Government/ Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to use the land as it sees fit, including to encourage a range of socio-economic development activities in the Obuasi region.

The area in question covers about 273 square kilometers and excludes the Obuasi Mine, which lies on land retained by AGAG.

AngloGold Ashanti’s primary aim, subject to the outcome of an ongoing feasibility study, remains to turn the Obuasi Mine into a long-life, modern, mining operation that will provide foreign investment, high-quality direct and indirect employment, taxes and foreign exchange revenue to Ghana.

However, the continued presence of illegal miners on the Obuasi Mine continues to jeopardize this potential. It is critical that the authorities act to resolve this threat to the viability of the Obuasi Mine, in a peaceful manner, and as quickly as possible.

Numerous meetings between AngloGold Ashanti executives and representatives at all levels of Ghana’s government – both national and local -- have failed to yield the return of supplementary security to the site.

The illegal miners, meanwhile, continue to damage parts of the ore body and important infrastructure, raising the risk that the site will be irreparably damaged if they are allowed to go on unchecked.

There is also a growing threat to AGAG’s ability to continue supplying critical services to the Obuasi Mine and to local communities.

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