AngloGold Ashanti Ghana (AGAG), has responded to the demonstration held in Obuasi town on Tuesday, June 21, by the Obuasi Youth Community Mining Association, on the theme “Obuasi Deserves Better.”
A statement issued by AGAG, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the demonstration’s purpose was to petition AngloGold Ashanti to relinquish additional areas of its core concession to facilitate community mining.
It said the Group also raised Obuasi’s high unemployment rate and asked that AngloGold Ashanti employ more people from the area.
The statement said: “AngloGold Ashanti has in recent times surrendered over 70 per cent of its original mining lease to the Minerals Commission and has only retained areas critical to its current and future mining and infrastructural requirements”.
It noted that further, only the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources could grant a mining lease.
It said AngloGold Ashanti does not have the power to release any portion of land which falls within the mining lease area to third parties.
The statement said AngloGold Ashanti appreciates that unemployment was one of the most prevalent socio-economic challenges in Ghana, and Obuasi was not any different.
“Since the commencement of the Obuasi Re-development Project in 2019, the company has prioritized employment of residents from the Obuasi communities, specifically Adansi and Amansie, in varying capacities and in temporary and permanent roles,” the statement said.
“This priority status of local communities has been formalised through a Local Employment Procedure.”
It intimated that through a three-year Social Management Plan, from 2019 to 2021, the company had also made a significant investment in its host communities, including in the areas of education, skills development, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure support, and local content.
It also said, that through its 10-year Socio-economic Development Plan, from 2021, AngloGold Ashanti continues to demonstrate its firm commitment to the development of the Obuasi communities by fostering local economic growth and nurturing relationships with the host communities.
It said AngloGold Ashanti also contributes $2 for each ounce of gold it produces to the Obuasi Community Trust Fund, which had the primary objective of funding projects in the communities based on the recommendations of the communities themselves.
“Our principal focus is the safety of our employees and host communities and all the necessary precautions are in place to ensure the safety of our employees and host communities,” the statement said.