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VENTURES AFRICA – Ghana’s mining giant, Anglogold Ashanti (AG Ashanti) has dispelled speculations that its Obuasi Gold mine has shut down operations, saying that discussions on the future of the 115 year old mine is still on-going between the relevant parties.
The mine, considered one of the ten largest in the world and located in the Adanis North District of Ghana, has been experiencing some operational setbacks.
Production has been on steady decline since 1995, nearly two decades, and this, coupled with 25 percent depreciation in value of gold last year and an increase in corporate tax rate for mining companies from 25 percent to 35 percent, have further heightened the challenges of the company.
Although it said there is no credibility to current speculations, 430 workers were fired last year in a bid to restructure. Reports have also suggested that it is considering closing down the mine for the next two years if production fails to improve.
When quizzed on the ongoing rumours, it admitted to exploring several business option including a temporary shut down, saying “a number of options are on the table and these include a SHUT FIX and REOPEN option.” It however emphasized that nothing had been decided as they are currently discussing with government, unions, regulators and other interest groups on the best step to take.
A temporary shut down will not only affect the people of Obuasi whose major source of income comes from working the mine, but will also derail Ghana’s economy, as gold exports contributes about 48 percent of the country’s revenue.