The town of Obuasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana, West Africa, has a long and rich mining history. In 1897, large scale commercial and industrial mining began at the Obuasi Gold Mine and continued for over a century until its closure in 2014 for major restructuring.
In 2018, a $500 million investment from AngloGold Ashanti was approved for the redevelopment of the Obuasi mine, with first gold poured in 2019. Today, the project is in its third phase, with construction currently underway to develop the necessary supporting infrastructure to sustain a ramp-up in production by the end of 2023.
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According to Eric Asubonteng, Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti, the Obuasi redevelopment project is an excellent example of public and private collaboration within the mining sector that has sustainability at its core.
“The Ghanaian government has provided an enabling environment, by issuing the relevant approvals and permits to assist us in getting the mine ready for development and prioritise re-opening,” he says.
Not only this, but in its role as a development partner, the government has worked collaboratively with AngloGold Ashanti to ensure that the Obuasi project aligns with the interests of the wider Obuasi community.
“We have achieved this by putting in place a local employment procedure to create employment opportunities for the youth host communities that also ensures proactive, local SMME participation in the value chain.”
Of the total monies spent to date on redevelopment, over 80% has gone towards Ghana registered businesses – both local and foreign-owned businesses registered in Ghana, paying taxes in Ghana.
And for every ounce of gold produced, AngloGold Ashanti contributes US$2 into the AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Community Trust Fund, governed by an independent board who possess full decision-making responsibilities as to how and where the funds are spent for the development of the host communities
Other Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects to have blossomed from the Obuasi mine redevelopment include a growing 1,500-strong university in the Obuasi town that provides education and skills to youth in areas of engineering and technology.
Driving Responsible Change within Mining
According to Asubonteng, sustainable and responsible mining lies at the heart of all AngloGold Ashanti’s efforts, and as such, the company has committed to many similar CSI projects which will be showcased at the 2022 West African Mining & Power Expo (WAMPEX), taking place from 1-3 June at the Accra International Conference Centre in Ghana.
As the leading exhibition for the mining and power value chain, WAMPEX attracts thousands of senior mining professionals from both public and private sectors across Africa and globally, making it one of the most important industry meeting places in the mining calendar.
In addition to extended networking opportunities, the event will host a series of interactive technical workshops, providing the latest insights into sustainability, automation and operational excellence, while suppliers showcase latest technologies, innovations and products.
Looking forward to the in-person interaction of the event, Asubonteng admits to having missed networking with like-minded industry professionals from around the world, due to Covid.
“An event like WAMPEX gives more credibility to the increasingly prominent West-African mining jurisdiction, drawing the right attention to West Africa,” he concludes.