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AngloGold Ashanti SA High Commissioner joins calls for troops protection in Obuasi

The SA high commissioner to Ghana made the call when she was addressing the Ghana-South African Business Chamber yesterday in Accra.

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The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Lulama Xingwana, has asked government to intervene in the impasse between illegal miners  and AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) so as to save lives and investments in Obuasi.

Speaking at the Ghana- South Africa Business Chamber forum yesterday,  Xingwana said "We are urging the government to intervene with the Military to save more lives, to restore law and order, and also to protect the high investment that has been made by AngloGold Ashanti . They have made about 2 million dollars investment in that mines."

"We would like to see more investors come to Ghana which will create a number of jobs for Ghanaians and grow both of  our economy," she added.

Her call comes on the heels of violent clashes between the illegal miners and staffs of AGA that resulted in the death of the company's Communications Director ,Mr John Owusu. He was then rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Spio Garbah, also emphasised the need for reinforcement to save key investments at the forum.

He said investor confidence in the country must be maintained.

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In press release Wednesday Feb. 10, AGA asked for troops protection from the Ghana Army under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ghana Army and the Chamber of Mines, on behalf of its members.

"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," AGA said.

The company said it has withdrawn all "employees performing non-essential functions from its Obuasi Gold Mine, following the incursion of hundreds of illegal miners inside the fenced operational areas of the site since 5 February 2016."

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, according to Bloomberg.

The Ghana Mine Workers Union, (GMWU) in an interview with Citi FM ,condemned the clashes in Obuasi.

General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Prince William Ankrah said the security agencies must be tough on illegal miners so as to protect lives and properties.

“Nobody should encourage this activity of illegal miners; we condemn it entirely and we need to be careful as a nation. We don’t accommodate some of these behaviors. Even though we all agree that we need to all have sources of livelihood. But the security agencies must be seen dealing with all those who are said to be part of the act. We as a union were shocked to have heard that John Owusu has passed away because these galamsey operators were chasing them.”

 

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