It appears AngloGold Ashanti is gradually withdrawing from its Obuasi concession following the recent attack on its officials by hundreds of illegal miners.
The company said the latest invasion of the site followed the withdrawal of the military by government from the mine on Tuesday, 2 February after an initial incursion on 30 and 31 January, 2016.
It said no reasons were given for the withdrawal of the military.
“It is important to point out that Ghana Army has a Memorandum of Understanding (Military MOU) with the Chamber of Mines, on behalf of its members to provide military personnel for deployment at their mining operations.”
Communications Manager of the company recently died in a car accident when he and colleagues tried to flee after a group of illegal miners hurled rocks and other projectiles at mine employees, police and security personnel.
It said the attack was entirely unprovoked.
The company indicated that it has withdrawn all employees performing non-essential functions from its Obuasi Gold Mine, following the incursion of hundreds of illegal miners in the fenced operational areas of the site since 5 February 2016.
Employees on site are performing critical tasks, including underground pumping and ventilation, water treatment, provision of medical services and maintenance of electrical facilities that provide power and water to homes of employees and surrounding communities.
The company stated that it has established a significant security system for the mine, including a 21 kilometres security fence around the operational area, as well as the deployment of a large security force of almost 400 personnel due to the size and spread of the operation.
The company’s security forces do not carry lethal weapons in accordance with Ghanaian law.
The company’s security forces also operate under the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights.
“AngloGold Ashanti Ghana has made appeals to government representatives for the reinstatement of the previous security arrangements, as without them, the company’s employees and assets have been left vulnerable to attacks from illegal miners who ultimately do not respect other forms of protection.
“AngloGold Ashanti Ghana appreciates that the mineral wealth of Ghana is a national asset for the benefit of all Ghanaians. This latest invasion of the site undermines that right provided under the law and jeopardises the safety of employees and the future of this asset.”
AngloGold Ashanti committed in 2014 to 60 percent of the Obuasi mining concession area to the Government of Ghana.
We are working with the relevant delegated authorities in this regard and the process is now awaiting completion.”
By Samuel Boadi