Mr Eric Asubonteng, Managing Director, Anglogold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited, has reiterated the need for industry to continue working together with government, communities and citizens in identifying opportunities to sustain long-term benefits for all.
Mr Asubonteng said this in his address at the Seventh AngloGold Ashanti Lecture on Business in Africa, on the theme “Building a Resilient, Sustainable Organisation during a Global Pandemic-Lessons from COVID-19 for Africa.”
This year, the annual event, which is being organized under the auspices of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Asubonteng said, he was proud of the measures taken by the Obuasi Mine to control the spread of the disease (COVID-19) and highlighted their effectiveness in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the Obuasi Redevelopment Project.
“We are proud to say that due to the effectiveness of the COVID-19 interventions implemented, the Obuasi Re-development Project continued and is on course without significant disruptions, albeit some delays to the schedule of the ramp up,” he said.
Mr Asubonteng recalled that on 14th March, their Obuasi Mine recorded its first case of COVID-19, which was the third case recorded in the country.
He said about a week prior to that, even before Ghana had recorded its first COVID-19 case, a multidisciplinary crisis management team had been formed and was already liaising with the Municipal and District Assemblies to put in place measures to address the global pandemic should the mine and the town be hit.
He said in view of that, they were not unprepared even though the situation was novel; declaring that “the mine had already been notably successful at reducing the incident of malaria by 75 per cent within a year in 2008, when it deployed the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) method of malaria control undertaken by our subsidiary AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Malaria Control Limited (AGAMal)”.
He said with the support of the reliable data built by AGAMal and their well-developed systems for malaria control, as well as the team of doctors and other health specialists, from our hospital, the AGA Health Foundation (AGAHF), the Obuasi Mine was more than ready to manage the pandemic.
The Managing Director said working hand in hand with the Municipal and District Health Directorates, several interventions were rolled out in the communities.
Mr Asubonteng said it was worth noting that the pandemic hit the Obuasi Mine at a critical stage in the mine’s redevelopment effort, following a five-year break in production in 2014.
“The mine had achieved first gold pour in December 2019 and had begun Phase 2 of the Redevelopment Project, which included; among others, the construction of a new Tailings Storage Facility, and upgrading of the processing plant and underground infrastructure to ensure a ramp up of the rate of ore tonnes processed from 2000 tonnes of ore per day to 4000 tonnes of ore per day,” he said.
“We are proud to say that due to the effectiveness of the COVID-19 interventions implemented, the Obuasi Redevelopment Project continued and is on course without significant disruptions, albeit some delays to the schedule of the ramp up.
“Our sustained success requires that we continue to work together, both as members of the AngloGold Ashanti family, as members of the broader business community, and as citizens in continuously identifying business improvement opportunities to be sustain long-term benefits for the business and the community at large.
AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine is proud of the role it has played so far in curbing COVID-19 in the Obuasi Community.”
Mr Asubonteng said the effectiveness of the interventions efforts in the Obuasi Town was publicly acknowledged by the President, in one of his nationwide addresses on COVID-19.
He said as at 7th October, the Obuasi Community, including; the Obuasi Mine, had only one active COVID-19 case after a three-week period of recording no new; stating that “this is in sharp contrast to the previous situation, where the Obuasi Community was considered a hotspot in the country”.
“We acted early and decisively to build a resilient Obuasi Mine, and we hope that through consistency and adherence to the necessary interventions and protocols, we will see the end of COVID-19.”