AngloGold withdraws employees as illegal miners invade Obuasi mine

An incursion into the operational areas of AngloGold Ashanti mine in Obuasi by some illegal miners has forced the company to withdraw all non-essential employees from the ground.

Hundreds of illegal miners popularly referred to as galamsey operators have since February 15 invaded the mining site following the withdrawal of government’s military protection at the fenced site on February 2.

According to the company, “this latest invasion of the site…jeopardises the safety of employees” and the future of the company’s asset.

A statement issued by the company Tuesday said currently, only employees performing critical tasks including underground pumping and ventilation, water treatment, provision of medical services and maintenance of electrical facilities that are on site

It has consequently appealed to the government to reinstate the previous security arrangements, as without them, the company’s employees and assets have been left vulnerable to attacks from illegal miners who ultimately do not respect other forms of protection.

“It is important to point out that Ghana Army has a Memorandum of Understanding (Military MOU) with the Chamber of Mines, on behalf of its members, to provide military personnel for deployment at their mining operations,” the statement said.

It also clarified circumstances that led to the death of one of its employees, John Owusu, who according to the company, had an accident while fleeing an attack by some illegal miners, saying “This attack was entirely unprovoked”.

The company underscored the need for the government, as well as local and regional authorities, to work with AngloGold Ashanti to resolve threats to the viability of the Obuasi gold mine and its ongoing contribution to the Ghanaian economy.

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“The immediate priority should be to ensure safety and security of the mine employees and the mine,” it added.