AngloGold Says Ghana Troops Need to Protect Obuasi After Attack

  • Military withdrew from mine after attacks began Jan. 30
  • AngloGold sent non-essential employees home after 1 killed

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. asked Ghana to redeploy troops at its Obuasi mine after an employee died in an attack by hundreds of illegal miners on the facility last week.

The military withdrew from Obuasi on Feb. 2 following several attacks at the site on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, the Johannesburg-based company said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. Days later, hundreds of illegal miners stormed the mine about 260 kilometers (161 miles) northwest of the capital, Accra, killing a staff member.

“The onus for ensuring safety and security of individuals and property in any country, and therefore restoring safety and security to the site, lies with the authorities,” the company said.

AngloGold fired workers and put the mine on limited operations last year as costs soared and the price of bullion fell. The company needs to boost investment to gain access to the mine’s estimated 5.3 million ounces of gold deposits. Talks with Randgold Resources Ltd. to develop the site together fell apart in December. Anglogold plans to keep searching for a partner and find a solution for the mine before the end of the year.

Land and Natural Resources Minister Nii Osah Mills and Aggrey Quashie, an army spokesman, didn’t answer calls to their mobile phones or respond to text messages seeking comment. The Chamber of Mines has an agreement with the military that offers soldiers to protect mines, according to AngloGold.

Gold plunged more than 10 percent last year, forcing producers in Ghana to cut production and fire employees, before rebounding this year. It’s risen 13 percent in 2016, the best start since 1980, as mounting concerns over global economic growth have boosted demand for safe haven assets.

Ghana is Africa’s second-largest producer of the metal, after South Africa.

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