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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Work resumes at Bogoso mines as court case against GSR ceases

Work at the Bogoso-Prestea mines has re-commencedWork at the Bogoso-Prestea mines has re-commenced

• Work at the FGR BP mines has resumed

• This has come about after an agreement between managers and workers was arrived at

• This will also mean that a court case against former owners, Golden Star Resources, will come to an end

Work at the Bogoso mines has returned to normalcy after an agreement between the Future Global Resources Bogoso-Prestea (FGR BP), the exempt staff and the workers’ unions was reached.

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Also, this new agreement means that an ongoing court action against the Golden Star Resources (GSR), who are the previous largest shareholders of the mine, will now cease.

Following the sale of the mine in September 2020, a series of strikes by workers, took place at the FGR Bogoso Prestea mine, leading to the management intervening to assist the disgruntled employees.

This was contained in a joint statement from the extraordinary Joint Standing Negotiation Committee (JSNC) set up to look into the expectations of the employees for severance payments, “an expectation created by the same severance being granted during the previous sale of the mine, but had become increasingly distracted after many failed attempts of reaching a settlement with the previous owners of the mine, Golden Star Resources (GSR).”

The statement continued that, “While GSR were invited on several occasions to attend the extraordinary meeting of the JSNC, they declined. As a result of this positive agreement being reached mining activity has re-commenced peacefully. In addition, and to the benefit of employees, Unions and GSR, the ongoing court action against GSR will now cease.”

In 2020, the Golden Star Resources Ltd entered into a binding agreement for the sale of its 90 percent interest in the Bogoso-Prestea Gold Mine to Future Global Resources Limited (“FGR”) for a purchase price of up to US$95 million.

Under this transaction, there was a purchase price of US$55 million with a further contingent component of up to US$40 million.

The full communique from the JSNC is as follows:

Following the sale of the Bogoso Prestea Mine on September 30th 2020, Employees under the previous owner, Golden Star Resources (GSR), had expected payment of severance prior to the completion of the transaction. This was, however, not met which consequently led to a series of industrial actions and a lawsuit instituted against GSR Bogoso Prestea Limited, albeit not successful in the first instance. The justice of a High Court of Ghana, following his ruling of the first instance, encouraged the parties to take advantage of existing channels of communication to arrive at a resolution to the severance issue. Same was advised by the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union.

As a consequence, an extraordinary Joint Standing Negotiation Committee (JSNC) meeting between FGR Bogoso Prestea Limited (FGRBPL), the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU) of the Trades Union Congress, Bogoso Gold Enterprise Based Union (BGEBU) of Ghana Federation of Labour, and Exempt Staff of FGR Bogoso Prestea Limited, was convened witnessed by officers of the Labour Department. The meeting was intended to manage the concerns relating to the severance payment for the permanent Employees of FGRBPL.

All parties contributed to these discussions in good faith with the view to restore and sustain operations at the Mine, as well as rebuild the Company’s social licence to operate.

What has emerged from the Extraordinary JSNC meeting, which lasted seven days, is an aligned way forward that includes a negotiated three-stage severance payment plan between October 2021 and October 2023 for the affected permanent Employees. This agreement only deals with severance as a result of change in ownership of the company. In addition to the severance payments, all affected permanent Employees will be re-engaged on established contracts of employment with a specified period of time. Following this, it has been agreed that the court action instituted against GSR Bogoso Prestea Limited by the affected workers will be abandoned.

Having mutually agreed on a way forward, the outcome of the meeting has averted further industrial actions resulting from the sale of the Mine by GSR and the associated non-payment of severance. Mining operations can now continue in the interest of all parties and the local communities.

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