President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the return of gold production by Anglogold Ashanti Gold at the Obuasi mine six years after it was effectively closed down is good news for the country.
The President said the coming back on stream of the Obuasi mine signalled to the rest of the world “new beginnings for Obuasi, which will help in spurring on the development of our country”.
Speaking at an event commemorating the first gold pour of the Anglogold Ashanti Mine here yesterday, the President recounted how, on January 22, 2019, he launched the Obuasi Mine Redevelopment Project, whose aim was to signal a return to operation of the Obuasi mine, which had been effectively closed since 2014.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “the shutdown of the mine brought in its wake severe levels of hardship to a community whose major preoccupation is mining. Employees, both direct and indirect, felt the brunt of the closure, with equally devastating effects to several actors along the value chain, be they mine support service companies, security and telecommunications providers or financial institutions.”
In fulfilment of a 2016 campaign pledge to the people of Obuasi, he indicated that his assumption of office saw the holding of a series of discussions and negotiations and the provision of a number of fiscal incentives, which led, firstly, to the establishment of the Re-Development Project of the Obuasi mine, “and brought us, secondly, to this day when we effect the ceremonial celebration of the first gold pour of the mine.”
Addressing the gathering, the President noted that the vision of the project had been to deliver a modern, state-of-the-art, mechanised underground mine,that will enable AngloGold Ashanti Limited to mine its 30-million-ounce ore body over the next two decades.
“I am also advised that this mine, mining at the rate of 2,000 tonnes per day, and scaling up to 4,000 tonnes per day by year-end, would be producing an average of 350,000 ounces of gold per annum for the first 10 years, and over 400,000 ounces per annum over the remainder of the life of the mine. Efficient production will make it a profitable venture,” he said.
The President continued, “So, I congratulate the promoters and management of the mine for this major milestone, and I expect the first gold pour to mark also a ‘Year of Return’ to winning ways for not just Obuasi and AngloGold, but for the mining sector in Ghana as a whole. As I have said before, I am counting on this mine to pull the adjoining communities out of poverty, and enable them to reflect the wealth that their soils have generated.”
The Chief Executive of AGA, Mr Kelvin Dushnisky commended the President and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll for their immense contributions to the revival of AGA.
He noted that, it was the tenacity, cooperation and the desire to do more that had brought the company this far after the challenges it faced some years ago.
Mr Dushnisky indicated that, AGA had fulfilled its promise of increasing local content after its revival as 96 per cent of its workforce was Ghanaian.
He promised to lead AGA to achieve its vision set for the next 20 years and also help promote development in the community.
AGA’s operation in Obuasi which has been primarily an underground operation, was placed on care and maintenance in 2017 pending the commencement of its redevelopment project.
The redevelopment project was in two phases with phase one involving project establishment, rehabilitation and development, plant and infrastructure refurbishment to which would enable a mining rate of 2,000 tonnes per day for the first operating year already completed.
The phase two would include the refurbishment of the underground materials handling system, shafts and ventilation as well as construction of primary crusher, the ball circuit, carbon regeneration, a new gold room and tailings storage facility.
FROM FAUSTINA KWABEA, OBUASI