AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine marks its first gold pour since 2004 Featured

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday expressed delight at the return to production, productivity and profitability of the AngloGold Ashanti gold mine six years after it was practically mothballed.

He said the resumption of gold production signals to the rest of the world the “new beginnings for Obuasi, which will help in spurring on the development of our country”.

“Devastating effects”

Speaking at an event to commemorate the first gold pour of the AngloGold Ashanti mine, he recounted how, on January 22 2019, he launched the Obuasi Mine Redevelopment Project with the aim of signalling a return to operations at the Obuasi mine.

“The shutdown of the mine brought in its wake severe levels of hardship to a community whose major preoccupation is mining,” the President said.

“Employees, both direct and indirect, felt the brunt of the closure, with equally devastating effects to several actors along the value chain, be they mine support service companies, security and telecommunications providers or financial institutions.”

Meets campaign promise

The President said that in fulfilment of a 2016 campaign pledge to the people of Obuasi, he held a series of discussions and negotiations with stakeholders, upon assumption of office, to work out how to bring the collapsed mine back into operation.

That encouraged the government to set up a number of fiscal incentives, which led, first, to the establishment of the Redevelopment Project of the Obuasi mine, “and brought us, secondly, to this day when we effect the ceremonial celebration of the first gold pour of the mine”.

President Akufo-Addo noted that the vision behind the project had been to deliver a state-of-the-art, mechanised underground mine that will enable AngloGold Ashanti Ltd to mine its 30-million-ounce ore body over the next two decades.

“I am also advised that this mine, mining at the rate of 2,000 tonnes per day and scaling up to 4,000 tonnes per day by year-end, would be producing an average of 350,000 ounces of gold per annum for the first ten years, and over 400,000 ounces per annum over the remainder of the life of the mine. Efficient production will make it a profitable venture,” he said.

Eyes on social responsibility

“So, I congratulate the promoters and management of the mine for this major milestone, and I expect the first gold pour to mark also a ‘Year of Return’ to winning ways for not just Obuasi and AngloGold, but for the mining sector in Ghana as a whole.

“As I have said before, I am counting on this mine to pull the adjoining communities out of poverty, and enable them to reflect the wealth that their soils have generated,” he said.

The President disclosed that, beyond its regular corporate contributions, the company will pay $2 for every ounce of gold produced over the life of the mine into a community trust fund, to facilitate development projects in local communities.

Even before full-scale production commences, a one-off contribution of US$250,000 has been paid into the trust.

Caring for the environment

“The government will also work with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd to ensure that all social and environmental concerns with respect to the reclamation and restoration of the mine sites are satisfactorily addressed, and these areas put back to good use for the benefit of the communities within the catchment areas,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo announced that, in line with the agenda to enhance local content in the mining industry, the government is engaging closely with the company to ensure that the Obuasi Redevelopment Project places a premium on local content, with a greater percentage of capital being spent in-country.

“Preference should be given to Ghanaian companies in the procurement of goods and services in the supply value chain, from the large-value underground mining contracts, through petroleum supply, to catering and security contracts.

“Ghanaian professionals must also be prioritised for employment opportunities, and localisation policies fully implemented to the letter. I am aware that the current promoters of this mine are committed to this goal,” he said.

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