Community miners must uphold industry-wide standards – Golden Star exec

Graham Crew

Community mining firms must uphold the most important industry-wide standards and practices in mining so as not to inflict damages on the environment, Graham Crew, Chief Operating Officer-Golden Star Resources, has said.

“As an international mining company, we are held to good environmental standards in Ghana and throughout the world – and we should be. As a responsible mining professional, any mining we do should respect the environment; and there should be environmental studies and management plans, and we should be held to account.

“With community mining, some of these same standards need to be applied. If people are trained, there is good regulation about what the standards are for community mining, the land tenure is properly controlled, oversight from the regulator to make sure that those things are complied with – then I think international investment and community investment in mining can work hand-in-hand,” he said.

Mr. Crew was speaking to some journalist in Accra to discuss the impact of the US$125.7million capital investment made by La Mancha Resources Inc., a gold exploration and production firm, into Golden Star Resources in 2018. The strategic investment strengthened Golden Star’s balance sheet and provide the company with increased financial capacity to unlock organic growth opportunities and participate in consolidation of the African gold sector.

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the Community Mining Programme in July this year at Wassa Akropong in the Western Region, with the promise that the programme is aimed at formalising mining in selected communities across the country.

With at least one community mine expected to be set up in each of the mining districts in the country, the community mines will provide employment for more than 4,500 miners that were trained by government at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa.

Launching the pilot programme at Wassa Akropong, President Akufo-Addo stated that the Community Mining Programme will ensure that “mining will be done the right way, within the tenets of the law, and will not destroy our natural resources.”

Since then, some people have encroached on Golden Star Resources concessions at Wassa, also in the Western Region, in the name of community mining. These individuals, according to Golden Star, are not ‘members’ of the community of Wassa but are operating under the guise of community mining”.

But Mr. Crew explained that if standards are not clearly defined and applied, then there is a risk of conflict in an economic sense, between someone who has invested in concessions they are drilling and then someone coming to start digging a pit.

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“If you do not have that control of the tenure and cadastral system, that is the potential where you can have economic conflict between community miners and investors, locally or international. It is about having that regulatory platform and the ability to be able to manage that; and this is the key to successful small-scale mining. I think that is the intent and I hope government has got the resources and commitment to be able to deliver the intent,” he added.

More on La Mancha investment

In 2018, La Mancha made a capital investment of US$125.7million into Golden Star to accelerate the latter’s growth opportunities. As part of the strategic relationship with La Mancha, Golden Star is undergoing management changes to align the company with new challenges ahead. This year has seen the appointment of a new CEO, Andrew Wray, and the appointment of new executive team members.

“Proceeds of the transaction with La Mancha are earmarked for accelerating underground development and production at the Wassa Underground Gold Mine and the Prestea Underground Gold Mine.

“The investment also seeks to accelerate exploration and mineral reserve definition drilling at Wassa Underground, Prestea Underground and the Father Brown satellite deposits. It also seeks to fast-track the necessary studies and development of the southern portion of the Wassa Underground deposit,” he added.

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