Anglogold Ashanti has rejected claims that illegal miners occupying the Obuasi mine have been removed by the Ashanti Regional Police Command.
According to a statement issued by the company, the illegal miners continue to occupy and operate on parts of the mine.
This comes after the Ashanti Regional Police Command denied having withdrawn partially the SWAT team sent to the site.
Anglogold Ashanti early last week partially suspended operations rendering only essential services following clashes between illegal miners and some of its staff, leading to the death of the company’s Communications Specialist, John Owusu.
The situation Citi Business News understands has deteriorated, with more illegal miners entering the site each day.
Anglogold Ashanti in a statement to Citi Business News said to date, authorities have neither acted to stem the flow of illegal miners to the mine site, nor to remove those already there.
“The latest invasion of Anglogold Ashanti’s mine site follows the withdrawal of government military protection from the mine on Tuesday, February 2, after initial incursions on January 30 and 31, 2016.”
According to the mining firm, if the situation is allowed to continue, it could threaten the long-term viability of the mine and AngloGold Ashanti Ghana’s ability to continue its feasibility study and maintain critical services, which serve both the operations and surrounding communities.
The company says, “It is crucial that Government works with the company to resolve the current illegal occupation of the site by the illegal miners which they believe not only poses a direct threat to the safety of employees, their families and other community members, but also threatens the viability of Obuasi, and jeopardizes its long-term contribution to Ghana’s economy.”
Read the full statement below
Response to CitiFM Article Regarding Police Response to the Invasion of Obuasi Mine Site by Illegal Miners
15 February 2016
AngloGold Ashanti Ghana notes the article in CitiFM on Friday, 12 February, quoting Ashanti Regional Police Command as saying police have been able to remove all illegal miners from the Obuasi Mine site.
The article is completely inaccurate in its portrayal of the situation at Obuasi.
As AngloGold Ashanti Ghana has placed on record, illegal miners continue to occupy and operate on parts of the mine.
As of today, 15 February, the situation has in fact deteriorated, with more illegal miners entering the site each day.
To date, the authorities have neither acted to stem the flow of illegal miners to the mine site, nor to remove those already there.
This latest invasion of the site followed the withdrawal of government military protection from the mine on Tuesday, 2 February, after initial incursions on 30 and 31 January 2016. It is important to note that the Ghana Army has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chamber of Mines, on behalf of its members, to deploy military personnel at mining operations. To AngloGold Ashanti’s knowledge, no other mines with a military presence have been affected.
Accra, 15 February 2015: Following engagement between AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mr Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, and the Ghanaian Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and other high ranking government officials, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has committed to sending a delegation senior government officials today to examine the illegal mining at Obuasi Gold Mine. The team from Accra will be joined in Kumasi by selected members of the Regional Security Council.
AngloGold Ashanti Ghana’s aim is to prove the viability of a project to turn Obuasi Gold Mine into a long-life, modern, world-class mining operation that will provide foreign investment, high-quality direct and indirect employment, taxes and foreign exchange revenue to Ghana.
It has invested significant resources into this project in recent years. It is crucial that the Government of Ghana work with the company to resolve the current illegal occupation of the site by Galamsey, which not only poses a direct threat to the safety of employees, their families and other community members, but also threatens the viability of Obuasi, and jeopardises its long-term contribution to Ghana’s economy. The immediate priority should be to re-establish law and order.
AngloGold Ashanti Ghana will continue to urge authorities at a national and local level to assist in upholding the law and returning safety and security to the site before further injuries or further loss of life occur.
Unless we have certainty that our employees are able to work in a safe environment, we will have no choice but to progressively withdraw personnel from the mine until the situation normalizes.