The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker, has assured workers of Awaso Bauxite Company Limited in the Western North Region that the government would not shut down the company.
He said the state would protect the workers’ interests at all times, adding adequate compensation would be paid to the workers should it become necessary to sell the company.
Mr Duker, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem, gave the assurance when he visited the company to settle the uneasiness and apprehension between the investors of the company, Bonsai Minerals Group (BMG) from China and about 700 workers of the company.
Present at the meeting was Mr Jingkun Fang, the General Manager of Awaso Bauxite Company.
The apprehension is because BMG, which has an 80 per cent share in the company, has written to the government about its intention to sell its shares.
This is due to the company’s inability to renew its mining lease, which will expire on January 9, 2022.
Also, the mine would have its lifespan completed in the next six months and would require heavy capital to revamp.
The workers were, therefore, asking for a severance package from the investor if the company was to be shut down.
They also appealed to the government to find another strategic investor to develop a new site to sustain their livelihood.
Mr Duker indicated that the workers should not worry since the company had two concessions so it would be expanded to their benefit, suggesting that it was about time the government also owned big concessions in the country in the interest of the citizenry.
“Mining bauxite without thinking about the progress of the country and the natives is disastrous,” he noted.
He said non-conformity to the tenets of the Minerals Commission and mining, in general, would be dealt with by the law.
He assured the workers that they had the backing of the government so they should not throw their hands in despair.
The government, according to the Deputy Minister, was committed to adding value to bauxite, adding that the workers’ welfare would be protected as they would not be left out in the value chain.
Ogyeahohuo Yaw Gyebi II, Paramount Chief of the Sefwi Anhwiaso Traditional Area, said they must all come together to revive operations at the mining company for the lives of the local people to improve.