The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has cautioned AngloGold Ashanti it should adhere to the country’s local content policies.
Mr. Amewu said that even though government is not opposed to foreign companies, it will not look on unconcerned as Ghanaians are disadvantaged in the mining industry.
Speaking at a Suppliers forum in Accra that brought together the company’s top executives and stakeholders from the industry, government agencies and key financial institutions, as AngloGold Ashanti is assessing future products and associated technical service requirements for its Obuasi and Iduapriem operations, Mr. Amewu described the forum as ‘propaganda gathering’.
“I have a feeling that this gathering is mere propaganda gathering. It is just to send signals to Ghanaians that Anglogold will be doing things differently; but that is not the case.
“We had been in discussion with AngloGold Ashanti for the past one year. In the middle of the discussion, when the ministry had no idea of who would become the contractor, AngloGold singularly advertised and shortlisted two foreign contractors. And you are gathered here waiting to get a contract?
“Two foreign contractors have already been shortlisted and the ministry got this information at 11:00 pm yesterday. This government is not against foreign companies, but all foreign companies working in this country must take note that the resources belong to Ghanaians. You don’t go to South Africa and bring the Black boys there. You don’t go to Australia and send the Black boys there.
“We want to entertain the white boys to work with us, but there must be equity,” he said.
He indicated that government wants to depart from practices in the mining sector which have left Ghanaians poor for over a century.
“We have mined resources for over 100 years in this country. There is not even one single indicator to show that Ghanaians have benefitted from their resources.”
He disclosed that President Akufo-Addo has already informed management of AngloGold Ashanti that government will protect the interests of Ghanaians to enable them benefit from the mineral resource – adding that government will not just engage in talking with mining firms, but will take actions to reverse the trend in which huge contracts are given to foreign companies.
“There is one way of talking, and there is another way of doing the talking. Mining companies must begin to respect the position of government in protecting Ghanaian interests.”
However, top management from AngloGold Ashanti assured the current and potential local suppliers of adhering to the local content initiative that will enable them to compete effectively in the value chain of its Obuasi and Iduaprim Mines.
Executive Vice-President Sustainability at AngloGold Ashanti, David Noko, said the company aims to support small and medium enterprises to sustainably build and grow their businesses, compete effectively at the local and national level, and access new markets and finance to improve their long-term success and sustainability.
Eric Asubonteng, Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana said: “Days like this allow us to share ideas and identify synergies with a view to creating shared value”.
“We will be working hand-in-glove with a network of local suppliers of goods and services to ensure that the continued development of these two mines brings shared prosperity.”
Mr. Asubonteng provided an overview of the Obuasi project, its implementation and operational phases.
Mr. Jasper Musadaidzwa, Managing Director Iduapriem, shared with the audience supply chain opportunities and future projects at the mine, and outlined the company’s procurement process – including vendor registrations, tender processes, local content requirements, AngloGold Ashanti’s Values and Code of Ethics, as well as its standards and protocols.
In addition, the company updated participants on its enterprises and supplier development programme, which aims to assist supply chain partners with access to finance; financial management skills; access to markets and opportunities; and improving management capacity.
A dedicated specialist organisation with sound experience in building the capacity of local enterprises will be engaged to facilitate this initiative.
AngloGold Ashanti recently announced the redevelopment of its Obuasi Mine, which has been in a limited operating phase since 2014.
The redevelopment is subject to ratification by parliament of agreements covering the mine’s development and operation, as well as securing the necessary permits.
The redevelopment will establish Obuasi as a mechanised underground mining operation with a life of more than 20 years, a fundamental departure from the labor-intensive mining methods used in the past.
The Obuasi Mine in 2013 was described as a struggling mine with over age equipment, poor security, inadequate power supply and was also faced with challenges of illegal miners.
Once the biggest gold mine in the country and leading employer in the industry with about 8,500 workers, Obuasi Mine became a high-cost gold producer and has not produced above 400,000 ounces since 2004. It has over 20 years of mine-life with nine million ounces of gold reserves.
Iduapriem, a large-open pit operation near Tarkwa, is undertaking a large cutback of its Teberebie pit to extend the life of the operation by almost a decade.