The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) has demanded the immediate reinstatement of the state security detail protecting the concessions of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) in Obuasi.
This follows the recent clashes between illegal miners and police officers on Anglogold’s mining concessions at Obuasi, which led to the tragic death of John Owusu, the company’s Communication Manager.
[contextly_sidebar id=”xaKfOxy2md6RDhMlzA120Tw4r9PVBKOs”]Officials at Anglogold say their concessions have been invaded by illegal miners in recent times, putting the lives of workers and even security officers at risk.
Speaking on Citi Eyewitness News earlier, the Director Responsible for Public Affairs and Environment at the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ahmed Nantogmah, also indicated that the military personnel detailed to protect the AGA mining concession had left two days before the incident that led to the death of the AGA Communication Manager.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Obuasi, Richard Ofori Agyemang Boadi, however rejected claims the withdrawal of military officers stationed on disputed concessions of the company is to blame for the incident.
In his view, internal security is the job of the police and they must be allowed to protect the concessions unless when there is need for military support.
But in a statement signed by the General Secretary of GMWU, Prince William Ankrah, the union said it is paramount that the state security be reinstated to protect lives and property.
The union also threatened to explore other options if their concerns are not met.
According to their statement, “… we as Mineworkers, demand an immediate and an unconditional reinstatement of the state security detail to the concessions of AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi and by extension any state designated concession for mineral exploitation threatened by the activities of ‘galamseyers’ to protect lives, property and our jobs, failing which the Union and its members would explore other options in getting this shameful drawback addressed.”
Find the full GMWU statement below.
GHANA MINEWORKERS’ UNION OF TUCG DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RE-INSTATEMENT OF STATE SECURITY FOR ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI OBUASI MINE AND THE OTHER COMPANIES IN THE MINING INDUSTRY
The Leadership, the National Executive Council and the entire membership of the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union condemns in no uncertain terms the bizarre and barbaric developments by illegal miners that occurred at AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine on February 6, 2016, which in our view has no place in the current global business and investment arena. We are indeed curious about the events which precipitated the development i.e. the abrupt withdrawal of the military from the Company’s concession mindful of the ever present threat and danger posed by the illegal miners. We are increasingly getting worried with the lackluster and lackadaisical attitude of government in dealing with the ‘galamsey’ menace in spite of the colossal damage their activities are impacting on the mining industry and the environment at large.
We are particularly disturbed by the fact that AngloGold Ashanti’s concession at Obuasi is one of the biggest gold deposit in the country, and for years remained the most strategic in terms of its economic relevance to the country’s development and transformational agenda. If such a strategic national asset could come under attack and receive such sluggish response, then we do not know what will become of the other smaller concessions and the ancillary companies in the industry should they in future come under similar attacks by these hoodlums who parade themselves as ‘galamsey’ operators.
It is important to underscore that the shameful development in Obuasi has serious implications and far reaching consequences for the industry and the country in the eyes of the international investor community as well as the other stakeholders and actors if not attended to with the urgency it deserves. Currently, the Company’s management, in a desperate move to protect life and property has initiated an adhoc plan that has impacted close to two hundred direct jobs and many more indirect jobs. This, in no doubt has exacerbated the current operational predicaments of a Company that has scaled down operations for re-engineering purposes in recent time. Indeed, no external threat has ever posed a danger of such magnitude as witnessed by the recent gruesome events at Obuasi which was largely fueled by the recent withdrawal of the state security presence from the mine.
Consequently, we as Mineworkers, demand an immediate and an unconditional reinstatement of the state security detail to the concessions of AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi and by extension any state designated concession for mineral exploitation threatened by the activities of ‘galamseyers’ to protect lives, property and our jobs, failing which the Union and its members would explore other options in getting this shameful drawback addressed.
Meanwhile the Union wishes to express its deepest condolences to the family of the late Brother and comrade, John Owusu, the Communications Director of the Company who met his untimely death following the attack by the illegal miners.
In a related development, the Union is also concerned about the AngloGold Ashanti – Randgold Partnership which was intended to usher in the operational phase of the turnaround processes but got abrogated under strange circumstances. We are aware that AngloGold Ashanti has not elapsed the period of its turnaround activities, but pieces of information our intelligence has picked regarding the Company’s ability to single-handedly resuscitate its Obuasi operations is bleak.
In our view however, we see the development as a great investment opportunity for government to take advantage of the public private partnership arrangement, venture into mining in a large scale and up its stake to leverage on such partnership deals and increase its influence in the formal subsector of the industry. This must be done drawing on its experience with the former Ashanti Gold Fields operations prior to the introduction of the Economic Recovery Program that subsequently attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) into the mining sector in the late 1980s to date. Indeed, posterity would not pardon us if we just become on-lookers in the Obuasi Mine current precarious state. We therefore call on all well meaning Ghanaians to join in the discourse towards the realization of a safe and vibrant mining operations at Obuasi and the country in general.
Signed: Prince William Ankrah (General Secretary)
By Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana