Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has said managers of AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi Mine were frustrated with the invasion of their concessions by illegal miners in the past, to the extent that they offered to sell the entire mine to him at $1.
The mine was shut down in 2014 due to the government’s inability to secure the concession from illegal miners.
There were recurrent confrontations between the miner and the ‘galamseyers’, which resulted in a fatal clash that led to the death of an AngloGold Ashanti manager.
The company’s Communication Director, John Owusu died when a car run him over during a swoop on the illegal miners who had invaded one of Obuasi’s concessions.
Some soldiers stationed at the company’s concession to protect life and property were also withdrawn, a situation, which, according to AngloGold Ashanti, emboldened the illegal miners who went as far as invading some parts of the underground concession of the company.
Speaking at the re-opening of mine on Tuesday, 22 January 2019, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said managers of the mine were prepared to sell it to him at one dollar out of frustration.
“The managers of AngloGold Ashanti offered to sell the entire mine to me for one dollar. They said they’ll close the mine and hand over the keys to me for just a dollar, but I begged them not to shut it down. I even proposed that a piece of land be given to the illegal miners so that they do not encroach on the concession of AngloGold Ashanti. We did all that but it didn’t work,” he stated.
The Asantehene expressed gratitude to President Nana Akufo-Addo for fulfilling a campaign pledge he made to the people of Obuasi on 15 July 2016, in the run-up to the 2016 general elections, to revive the mine.
For his part, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that upon his assumption of office, a series of discussions and negotiations took place that resulted in the re-development of the Obuasi mine.
“In order to help AngloGold Ashanti secure the needed investment for this project, the government had to provide a number of fiscal incentives and guarantee the stability of the project against changes in the legal environment, especially in the early years of the mine’s operations,” he said.
The President continued, “It is expected that all the agreements reached, including the vigorous implementation of domestic content policy, will be scrupulously honoured and performed. The initial investment in the redevelopment project is $881 million, with a total investment of $1.6 billion projected for the entire 22-year life of the mine. The whole investment package has been approved by Parliament.”
With an estimated 2,500 jobs to be created, the president was confident that Obuasi, a once vibrant town, will be brought back to life again, with an improvement in the living circumstances of its residents.
Additionally, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that the government is expected to rake in some $2.16 billion in revenue over the next 22 years, in royalties and corporate and withholding taxes.