Mining giant AngloGold Ashanti has justified its move to compel the government of Ghana to use its authority in restoring peace and stability to the company’s Obuasi gold mine.
Anglogold Ashanti announced on June 22, 2016 that it is petitioning the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID) to compel Ghana to end the continues stay of illegal miners on its Obuasi concession.
Justifying the company’s latest move in an interview with Citi Business News, the General Manager and Managing Director of the Obuasi Mine, Eric Asubonteng told Citi Business News that the continuous stay of the illegal miners is a threat to the future of the Obuasi mine.
“This is something that is going on for about five months now; we are in the fifth month. This is the position that we find ourselves in and the relief we are seeking is provided for in the mining lease agreement we have with the government and both parties are bound by the provision,” he said.
He bemoaned the lack of urgency in solving the problem, pointing out that several approaches adopted have been ignored.
“That is why we have been forced to take this action, activating the clause in the mining lease to compel the government to restore law and order to the site. Remember that all this while we have being asking for one thing. That law and order is restored for us at the Obuasi mine”,Mr. Asubonteng stated.
Mr. Asubonteng maintained that the company has engaged all processes required, including a formal request known as “Provisional Measures”, in seeking urgent relief but to no avail.
According him, the company wants to halt the ransacking of its orebody and vandalism of critical mine infrastructure.
Illegal miners invade AA mine
In February this year, hundreds of illegal miners invaded the fenced area of Anglogold Ashanti’s Obausi mine which led to the death of a senior management staff, John Owusu.
At the time, Mr. Asubonteng stated that, with each passing day that law and order is not restored the company’s orebody gets damaged.
Even though AngloGold Ashanti Ghana continues to engage with government at a local and national level, Citi Business News understands the move have faced several hiccups.
A statement copied to Citi Business News at the time, stated that “this inexplicable lack of action by the authorities has emboldened the growing number of illegal miners to intensify their activities in increasingly dangerous conditions, causing significant damage to the general environment, jeopardizing the mine’s future viability and comprising the rights of the community and investors in Ghana alike.”
Reported harm to illegal miners
Recently, some illegal miners were trapped on the premises of the company and died.
The deaths were blamed on the lack of meaningful intervention by Ghanaian authorities as the initial invasion of the site is said to have emboldened the illegal miners.
The incursion of illegal miners at Obuasi began some five months ago, following the withdrawal of military protection from the mine.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana