A 22 - strong mining environmental and sustainable development delegation from Burkina Faso has completed a tour of Obuasi Municipal Assembly with a call for stronger and closer cooperation between regulatory agencies of the two countries as well as mining companies to share ideas on emergent trends in the mining industry for the benefit of the people in the communities.
This, they believe, would not only create new opportunities for the mining communities, but more importantly create the enabling environment for the governments and their agencies to beef up their capacities to deal efficiently with multinational mining companies operating in the two countries.
The team, thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its counterpart in Burkina Faso, visited Obuasi after a week’s working visit to Ghana, where they had meetings in Accra with the Ministries of Environment, Science and Technology and Lands and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Council, among others; on the mining industry, environmental management and coordination of the industry.
At the municipal assembly, Emanuel Teye, the Coordinating Director of the assembly, spoke about the collaboration and partnership between the assembly and the mine, saying “as a result of regular engagement between us, the assembly and the communities have benefitted tremendously from the mine”. Mr Teye said as “the economic engine of the municipality “ most often we plan and implement projects together with the mine for our mutual benefit”.
On the mine, presentation on the fundamentals of the operation was made by Mark Morecombe, Senior Vice President (Operations), Kwesi Enyan, Managing Director of Obuasi Mine and Fred Attakumah, Vice President, Sustainable Development.
Mr Morcombe said the Obuasi mine is currently undergoing transformation, aimed at restoring operational credibility, re – architecting of the mine and building sustainable community, which in the long run will benefit AGA employees and the company’s business and social partners He said the mine, once Ghana’s number one foreign exchange has potential to produce massive to become a massive low cost gold produce in the next 20 to 30 years, given its great ore body.
“We have begun the construction of 15,000meter(15km) decline to underground, as part of AngloGold Ashanti long term interest in the country”, adding that “this will enable Obuasi to mine more tonnage while placing ourselves in stronger stead us to tackle exploration in the Obuasi deeps, which will enable us to mine beyond 2km below current working area”.
Challenged by old infrastructure and the downward mobility of gold price, the mine is not doing well but we hope to reverse the trend to make the Obuasi mine, a leading gold producer and a leading brand of choice, assuming capital inflow to sustain ongoing projects continues, Mr Morcombe said.
Awe-struck by the scale of the 116 year old underground operation, the delegation noted that “Obuasi has long and rich history of mining” and that “we are here to learn more about how AGA is managing the mine, the environment and other sustainable projects”. The delegation had an overview tour of the surface operation and installations and visited AGA Malaria Control, Sanso Portal and the newly constructed Dokyiwaa village, where the company has built 116 modern houses for the resettlement of the old Dokyiwaa community, near Obuasi.
Fascinated by the success of the AGA malaria project, which has significantly reduced malaria cases in some communities in Central. Ashanti, Upper East and Upper West Regions, the delegation literally requested for collaboration with the company, so that the indoor residual spraying technology can be extended to the people of Burkina Faso.
They were also happy with the way the mine was handling its historical legacies, especially environmental, land and water management, which they said is a “progressive step in the right direction” and hope the mine will keep it up and sustain the momentum to make the communities benefit from the presence of the company.
On his part Tiendreogo Mohammedou, a director of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, who led the Burkinabe delegation, commended AGA for the social and economic opportunities created for the people in the communities and its contribution to the national economy as a whole, adding that “your partnership with the chiefs, central government, municipal and district assemblies in the provision of education, health and agriculture projects is exemplary”.
Mr Mahmmendou’s hope is that their presence in Obuasi will create opportunities for more visits between the two companies not only in mining, environmental and sustainability sectors but other areas as well, given the significance of what they have learnt from the Obuasi mine and its communities.
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