A change of guard takes effect at Wassa

A change of guard takes effect at Wassa
  • As Chifeng completes acquisition of Golden Star Resources
  • Jinapor pledges gov’t support to grow sector

After two decades of mining gold and helping shape the surrounding communities in Wassa Fiase, mining firm Golden Star Resources officially handed over its operations to Chinese gold mining firm Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining Company Limited yesterday.

During a colourful ceremony at the mining site in Akyempim of the Wassa East district, Western Region, all speakers assured mine-workers, community and traditional leaders and other stakeholders of their commitment to continue developing the mine and its communities to help build a robust mining sector, anchored on integrity and utmost transparency.

Golden Star in the last quarter of 2021 announced the sale of its mining interest in the Wassa Mine to Chifeng Jilong for a total transaction value of approximately US$470million. Since announcement of the transaction, the two firms have secured regulatory and other relevant approvals for the deal to take effect. The event of yesterday, which included a change of flag, formed the final part of the deal.

Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, in a rousing speech assured the staff of Golden Star and other community leaders of government’s unflinching support to help the company grow – and by extension make Ghana the hub of 21st century mining in Africa and the world.

“Let me reaffirm the commitment of President Akufo-Addo’s government to make Ghana the mining hub of Africa, where all mine and mine-related activities – from exploration to finished products, and from research to innovation – will be centred.

“This industry must be largely indigenous, with strong local content participation and strict adherence to environmentally sound practices. Government is therefore committed to creating the necessary enabling environment and putting in place the needed measures to ensure we realise this vision,” he said.

In welcoming Chifeng to Ghana and Wassa, Mr. Jinapor urged them to note that the chiefs and people of Wassa, particularly the area’s teeming youth, have high expectations.                                “The consciousness of our youth is at an all-time high, and you must ensure that your operations accrue to their benefit as well. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources stands ready to work with you, and together we can build a mining sector that leads production in Africa, by being robust and anchored on integrity,” he added.

Mr. Jinapor noted that as part of the conditions for taking over the mine, Chifeng has agreed to respect and honour all existing contracts of Golden Star Resources – including employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements entered into with employees of the mine.

“Let me assure all the workers and good people of Wassa that government will work with the company to ensure the rights of all employees are protected; and, where necessary, appropriate severance packages are paid in accordance with the laws of our country and the existing collective bargaining agreements.”

Shadrach Adjetey Sowah, Managing Director of Golden Star Resources Wassa Mine, explained that the company’s good work had attracted Chifeng Gold to acquire Golden Star. “We are looking forward for a brighter future ahead, and we urge all to support development of the mine and the mining industry.”

Cheng Zhiyong, Board Member and Executive President of Chifeng Group and new Chairman of GSR, said the company has been able to deliver on its promise to invest in Ghana. “You have established a high-standard and respectable international mine. We will take it over and carry on the high standards and good practices, and even do more to develop Wassa into a world-class mine,” he added.

He expressed gratitude to the government of Ghana for its continued support, and also to employees of the mine for their hard work which has sustained the mine over the years. “We are all important stakeholders of the Wassa Mine; the mine’s success represents the success of each one of us.”

The Wassa Mine covers an area of 52.89km2. Since acquiring the assets in 2002, Golden Star has mined a total of 2.4million ounces of gold. In 2015, the company transitioned from open-pit mining to underground mining, which resulted in an increment of production from 104,000 ounces in 2016 to 165,000 ounces in 2020. With an additional 11 years of mine life, Wassa Mine when well-developed is expected to produce 1million ounces of gold.

Chifeng Profile Chifeng is an international gold mining company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of approximately US$3.7billion. It operates five mining assets, including the world-class Sepon gold mine in Laos. In 2018, Chifeng acquired Sepon before undertaking significant capital expenditures to redevelop the gold processing facility in order to double its future gold production.

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