Undoubtedly the biggest religious body in the country, the Catholic Church has expressed worry over the descending movement of the fortunes of the Ghana Stock Exchange – listed AngloGold Ashanti, which until recently was a major employer and a leading contributor to the national economy.
The Vicar General of the Saint Thomas Catholic Cathedral in Obuasi, Reverend Father Joseph Appiagyei who disclosed this at a service stated that the church was not happy with the declining fortunes of the Obuasi Mine, whose production was declining and costs of production shooting up, making operations unprofitable.
Rev. Father Appiagyei, further observed that aside the low declining production affecting the revenue and profitability of the Mine, underperformance was also adversely affecting the social and economic fabric of Obuasi as a high number of people in the area are affected through job lose.
He stressed that the situation was not a major source of worry to only political and traditional leaders in the country but also to religious bodies who form an integral part of the society. ,
Obuasi municipality and its surrounding communities have more than 240,000 people, of which most of them are Catholics; and the ongoing job losses on the AngloGold Ashanti operation meant that it would not affect only Christians but other religious bodies as well.
A combination of challenges – lack of infrastructure, lack of development, lack of backfill, over – bloated labour and high cost of energy, among others; have undermined efforts to stabilize decline and increase gold production. Four hundred jobs, according to the company, were lost last year and 415 more have been slated to go by August this year as the drive to restructure the mine to make it more efficient intensifies.
Reverend Father Appiagyei’s worry was based on the fact that the high loss of job opportunities would affect the development of the church and society as members may not be able to contribute to activities and projects that seek to enhance the growth of the church.
He encouraged employees of the Mine to be responsible to their duties to help restructure the operations of the Mine.
In a letter to the Obuasi churches seeking for divine intervention for the Obuasi Mine, the Managing Director of the Mine, Mr Fred Attakumah,, confirmed the challenges facing the Mine and sought for divine intervention.
He explained that the challenges of the Mine had led to the rather difficult decisions in an attempt to keep the operation of the Mine viable.
“It is in the light of this that we would like to respectfully request the clergy and all congregations in Obuasi to spare some minutes of your time during church services to pray and intercede for the Mine so that it can regain its true position as one of the most profitable mining operations in the world”, Mr Attakumah said.
About AngloGold Ashanti
AngloGold Ashanti is a global gold mining company and the world’s third largest gold producer. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti has 20 operations on four continents and one of the gold industry’s most successful exploration teams which work across both the established and new gold producing regions of the world.
This includes land positions in Colombia, Guinea and Australia, among others. AngloGold Ashanti employed 61,242 people, including contractors, in 2011 and produced 4.33Moz of gold, generating $6.6bn in gold income. Capital expenditure in 2011 amounted to $1.5bn. As at 31 December 2011, AngloGold Ashanti’s Ore Reserve totalled 75.6Moz.
The primary listing of the company’s ordinary shares is on the JSE Limited (JSE). Its ordinary shares are also listed on stock exchanges in London and Ghana, as well as being quoted in New York in the form of American Depositary Shares (ADSs), in Australia, in the form of CHESS Depositary Interests (CDIs) and in Ghana, in the form of Ghanaian Depositary Shares (GhDSs)
John Owusu Tel: +233 244 322 026 E-mail: [email protected]
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