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Gov’t’s silence on AGA mine shutdown worrying – TWN

The Third World Network (TWN) Africa, a civil society group, has stressed that government’s silence on closure of the AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) mine suggests that it was an agreement with the mine’s intention to shut down the mine for what it called ‘care and maintenance’ for two years.

“For us the mine in Obuasi is not just for us, it’s for the entire nation; and Obuasi Mine is a national asset.

“The company does not regard the local people as it has breached the stability agreement it signed with the government of Ghana in 2003,” said in a statement issued by TWN Africa.

The statement accused AGA of lacking expertise in deep level mining, thereby placing the Obuasi mine under “Care and Maintenance” resulting in job-cuts.

The statement again observed that the government’s decision to award the then-Obuasi Mine to AngloGold instead of Randgold was the result of purported “superior experience in deep level mining that the former was said to possess”.

The group observed among the accusations that production at Obuasi Mine in 2002 before AGA’s takeover was 500,000 ounces of gold, and that the expectation was for AGA to double the annual production — which would have led to the creation of thousands of jobs for the people of Obuasi and its environs: but, unfortunately, production in 2013 was around 200,000 ounces of gold.

Thus, TWN Africa said, AGA does not have the otherwise superior experience in deep level mining to have been awarded the contract.

AngloGold Ashanti at the beginning of this year announced its intention to shut down Obuasi Mine for a period of about two years, with the aim of undertaking what it termed “care and maintenance”.

TWN Africa indicated that over 1,000 workers have been laid-off, and in spite of ongoing discussions with government the company intends to further retrench the remaining workers numbering about 5,000 — after which about 500 workers would be re-employed to “guard and protect” the mine during the “care and maintenance” period.

The group contended that “In 2002, the underground mine in Prestea was put under a similar “care and maintenance” for a period of two years.

“The mine has since not resumed production, resulting in dire economic and environmental consequences for the people of Prestea.

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