The visit, organized by the Australian High Commission in Ghana recently was led by the acting High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Andrew Barnes and accompanied by Zabeta Moutafis, First Secretary. Others were Australian Alumni, Regulatory Agencies in Ghana: Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Geological Survey Department (GSD); with representation from ASM Africa Network (ASMAN). ASM, a civil society organization working on Environmental Natural Resource Governance Advocacy addresses the concerns of artisanal, small and medium scale mining operators.
The Australian Alumni, an interest group that have participated in mining related capacity building programs administered by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded organizations including International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC), Australian Awards and Australian-African Partnership Facility (AAPF) was also in attendance.
The goal of the interest groups are meaningful engagement, networking and the exchange of ideas between alumni that have been involved in mining related programs with IM4DC, Australians Awards and AAPF and also to identify and capture stories on the local mining for development and Australia’s role in contributing to transformational change.
According to the First Secretary, Zabeta Moutafis, the trip was also to expand knowledge and awareness of how an Australian company operates and manages a gold mine site in Ghana, exchange information, views, build contacts and strengthen networking.
Welcoming the group to the Perseus Edikan Gold Mines, the Executive General Manager, Brent Horochuk, gave the delegation an overview of the mines; on management, operation and security. Located at Ayanfuri, South of the city of Kumasi. Perseus has forged a reputation as one of the world’s most successful gold explorers, focusing on under-explored gold belts in West Africa.
He noted that Perseus Edikan Gold Mine in Ghana, formerly referred as the Central Ashanti Gold Project (CAGP) has 5.25 million ounces of Measured and Indicated gold resources, including reserves of 2.36 Moz Inferred gold resources.
Answering a question on the view of the company towards small scale mining; and support to one casualty of bullet wounds during recent clashes between the company’s security agencies and the community, Mr. Brent said the company recognizing the legitimacy of small scale mining but not when they’re encroaching on their property. He denied any known shooting incident during the August clashes, but was quick to say that a lot of casualties occur during armed robbery operations in the neighborhood but not on clashes with the company.
Mr. Brent concluded that illegal mining is different from ‘galamsey’. Emphasizing that ‘galamsey’ involves artisanal miners who want to eke a living without using any sophisticated equipment, unlike the illegal miners who are using sophisticated earth moving equipment’s, causing much devastation, environmental degradation and pollution. Other technical concerns observed by the alumni group is how the company is rehabilitating the waste rock site concurrently; and the tailings dam lined with lime to produce clean seepage.
An alumnus and Board Chairman of ASMAN, Okofo (Nana) Twum Barimah V, thanked the Ag. High Commissioner’s continuous support to the mining sector, adding that what they have seen is a testimony of the good work portraying the Australian identity worthy of emulation. Nana said having undertaking a refresher course in Australia on “Community Aspects of Resource Development” has contributed significantly to his knowledge base in the sector which has a positive development on Ghana.
An alumnus and small scale mining advocate, Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah said as per Perseus understanding of small scale mining, it was in its interest to create a conducive industrial collaboration and engagement with the small scale miners, to bring about cordial co-existent to merit effective social license for increased productivity.
Remarking, the Ag. High Commissioner, Andrew Barnes, thanked Perseus Mining Limited and the Australian Alumni Group for making the Australian Alumni Perseus mine site visit successful. He said it was interesting to see how the mine is operating and understanding the many challenges it has not only protecting but also renovating the environment; meeting legal obligations and costs to make the work profitable. Other challenges it faces are dealing with security and illegal miners, and meeting the communities’ expectations. Adding that the issues are complex and multi-faceted.
Sourc: Seibik Bugri & Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah