The biggest gold producer in the country, Goldfields Ghana Limited (GFGL), plans to inject some US$182 million into its operations at Damang and Tarkwa, both in the Western Region, before the close of the year.
About US$17 million of the amount is earmarked for the Damang Gold Mine, which is owned and operated by Abosso Goldfields Limited, and the remainder US$165 million is to be channeled into the Tarkwa Gold Mine, where Goldfields undertakes an open-pit exploration for gold on a 20,825-hectare parcel of land.
Goldfields holds a 90 per cent stake in Abosso Goldfields.
The Executive Vice-President and Head of Goldfields West Africa, Mr Alfred Baku, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that the planned US$182 million investment, which comes on the back of a myriad of challenges facing mines worldwide, demonstrated the commitment of the company to its operations in Ghana.
“We are still investing and keeping the money in the country. We love Ghana and we want to continue operating here,” Mr Baku said.
He spoke to the paper after Goldfields partnered The Capital Group, a management consultancy firm, to hold its 2nd annual ‘People’s Challenge Summit for HR and Industrial Relations Practitioners’ in Accra.
The two-day conference was aimed at fostering a cordial relationship between HR professionals and their unionised workers.
It was on the theme; ‘The Changing World of Work: Managing the Dynamics of HR Practice and the Case for Partnership in Industrial Relations.’ The event afforded both sides the opportunity to deliberate on key issues that could potentially strain relationships at the work side.
Breakdown of expenses
On how the US$182 million investment would be expended, Mr Baku said part of it would be used to replace heavy-duty equipment such as bulldozers, dump trucks and excavators, as well as to construct dump sites where cyanide would be deposited.
About US$15 million, he said, would be used to expand its operations, modify existing plants at the Tarkwa site, revisit abandoned pits and grow the business in general. The planned expansion and modification of the plant at Tarkwa is expected to stabilise Goldfields’ operations and possibly enable it to employ more people, its executive vice-president and head of West Africa said.
On the construction of the dump sites, Mr Baku said “In our operations, you need to create an isolated area – a dump site – so that when you process the cyanide, you pump it into that containment.”
Mining industry challenges
The US$182 million to be expended by Goldfields is one of similar substantial investments expected from the dozens of mining companies operating in the country during the year.
Such investments would be, in spite of the global slum in prices of gold and rising cost of operations which have forced most mines worldwide, including those in the country, to hold back on expansions, downsize their operations and/or lay off some employees in a bid to remain in business.
Over 3,000 people have so far been sent home, according to reports from the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the umbrella body of mining companies in the country.
Many more mineworkers risk losing their jobs in subsequent months as the challenges confronting the mining industry, which is arguably the biggest employer in the country, persist.
He said Goldfields, which began operations in the country in the early 1990s, did not intend to cut back on its investments in the two mines where it holds 90 per cent stake in each.