AngloGold Sees No Serious Attempt to Restore Order at Obuasi

  • World’s No. 3 gold producer in talks with Ghana government
  • Illegal miners invaded Obuasi site, leaving one person dead

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. said four months of talks with Ghanaian authorities so far failed to restore order at its Obuasi site which has been beset by illegal miners.

The world’s third-biggest gold miner is engaging with the West Africa nation’s government after hundreds of prospectors invaded the idle Obuasi operations in the south of the country earlier this year, leaving one person dead. AngloGold filed a dispute with Ghana at an international investor arbitration panel last month due to the country’s failure to protect the asset.

“We remain mystified that after four months of intensive engagement with the Ghanaian authorities at the highest levels there has been no serious attempt to peacefully restore law and order,” Stewart Bailey, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based AngloGold, said by e-mail Wednesday. “With each day this illegal occupation is allowed to continue, our confidence as investors is further eroded.”

Ghana is preparing to meet AngloGold at the arbitration panel even though it would prefer a settlement through talks, Deputy Mines Minister Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said in an interview at a conference in the capital, Accra.

President John Dramani Mahama “is interested in seeing a solution to this particular matter,” Akandoh said. “Nobody is happy that a mine like Obuasi is closed.”

Sleepless Nights

AngloGold fired most Obuasi workers in 2014 and halted production while it sought a partner to redevelop the mine after costs surged and it became uneconomic.

The raid of Obuasi by illegal miners “is unique and never seen before in Ghana,” Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer Sulemanu Koney said in an interview at the conference. “I have been having sleepless nights” trying to intervene, he said.

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