Golden Star Wassa suspends operations at Benso


Golden Star Wassa Limited has currently suspended it operations at Benso in the Western Region following the recent attack on the company by illegal miners.

According to the company, the law states that “if it is not safe, you cannot mine’’ and this is going to affect the company’s contribution toward the total production for weeks or months.

Also, the situation has a knock-on effect in terms of the company’s contribution to national economy, and statutory payments would all go down.

“One major thing that comes to mind straight is that last year, most mining companies contributed 5000 ounces to our reserves. This year, we saw the new regulation or sort of by-law that we need to contribute 20 percent of our annual production to the gold for oil stuff, which will reduce our expenditure our use of foreign exchange and improve the value of the cedi. So, look at the value chain here now,” Gerard Boakye, Group Corporate Affairs Manager of Golden Star Wassa Limited, was explaining the effect of the situation to the media when they visited the company’s site to know the extent of damage by the illegal miners.

He added: “Now, if Golden Star, one of our operations, which contributes roughly about a third to our total production has to stop operating for about three months, that should tell you that it is real cost to the whole process, which we’re losing out. It cost us a lot to restart mining here; a lot of cost which we haven’t even recovered 50 percent of it. Now, we have been set back by another three months; that is also cost”.

Again, he pointed out that the situation will affect the local economy, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as investor confidence.

“Thankfully, we have two other operations that we can depend on”, he added.


Zachaira Issah, Community Affairs Manager of Golden Star Wassa Mine, said the company had been operating in Benso from 2009 to 2012. The operation was suspended in 2012 due to fall in gold price and other operational challenges. He further explained that when the project was acquired by the Chinese, they decided to come back and then see whether company can restart the operations.

“So in June 2022, we had an open forum to formally announce to the community and other stakeholders on our resumption of operations here. We did series of consultation with the farmers and all the gurus in galamsey because when we left here for the past 10 years, they had taken over and there was a need for us to do more consultation, so that they will understand the essence of our coming,” he said.

“There are cocoa farmers here and per the mining regulations, where you have any active pits and you have to blast, you should have a buffer of not less than 500metres. 500metre-radius means that anything can happen; there can be flying rocks or anything to harm anyone. So with 500 metres, you need to compensate all the areas. You can even pay more than 500 because the more you pay, the safer it is for you to operate,” he added.

According to him, the farmers have been compensated, but were given time to harvest their cocoa and it was agreed in principle on the time that the can blast.

“We agreed on 3:30pm as an ideal time to blast since the farmers will be home by then. As a company, we blast about two or three times in a week and we allow everybody to evacuate to safety before blasting is done, and we engage some of the community members to help us to ensure the blasting is done at 3:30 pm, where there would be nobody around,” Mr. Issah narrated.

He said the challenge that the company encountered was that the illegal miners were mining within the 500 metres buffer and this has been very difficult for Golden Star; but with the farmers there have not been any problem with them.

“This incident happened last week Thursday when we were about blasting and the siren had been played and these galamsey operators were not ready to leave. The security spoke to them but they were not ready to leave and ended up chasing our security, hurting some of them in the process while others retreated and got back to the office.

“Unfortunately, during this encounter, one of the galamsey guys got hurt and was sent to the Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) Clinic, but died. His body was sent to Subriso, a town close-by, where an announcement was made on their community radio station about the incident. They further organised the town folks of over 100 and entered our premises. Although the seven policemen on duty did their best, the illegal miners were many. Our workers on duty evacuated and when they left, they attacked the machinery and other equipment,” he further detailed.

Property destroyed

Over 30 vehicles, made up of 22 trucks belonging to a local contractor of the mine ‘EDGATE Mining Service’, about 12 of light vehicles, excavator, tankers, water suspension, ambulance which served both the community and the mine were destroyed.

The office of the security at the entrance of the mine was totally burnt while some offices were vandalised with some items, such as refrigerators, among others, were taken away by the illegal miners.

Call for military and police

Considering the extent of damage cost, Mr. Boakye called for the reintroduction of military and police on the mine site. “We have been negotiating through the Ghana Chamber of mines for this support and we hope it will be considered soon,” he said.

Queenmother of Wassa Fiase

The Paramount Queenmother of Wassa Fiase, Nana Abena Kunadjoa II, condemned the attack by illegal miners on the company. She said those who were involved in such act were not indigenes of the town but settlers. She mentioned that Golden Star has had a good cordial relationship with the community and it was unfortunate that there have been some unscrupulous people in the town.

33 of the illegal miners have been arrested and few items, such as fire extinguishers and a refrigerator, have been retrieved.

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