12 November 2012

Ghana: AGA Impasse With MBC Resolved

THE IMPASSE between Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA) Obuasi mine and the Mining and Building Constructors (MBC), which arose following the termination of the underground development contract with the latter, last month, has been resolved.

The termination was as a result of AGA's move to secure the viability and long-term sustainability of the Obuasi mine by conducting their own underground development, but the decision sparked off misunderstanding.

A separate agreement was reached and finalized on Thursday between AGA, MBC management, MBC shareholders and the leadership of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU).

A press statement from AGA Public Affairs Unit stated that under the separation agreement, AGA would fund the employees' entitlements owed by MBC to the MBC employees directly affected by the termination.

The employees would be paid their outstanding benefits, leave pay, repatriation entitlements, bonus and food parcel in December.

The release added that at least 700 new employees, of which most of them were former MBC workers, have been recruited to assume full responsibility for the company's underground development.

"Anglo Gold Ashanti has traditionally undertaken underground production, using its own employees and equipment. The company will continue as an owner operator in production and now will also assume underground development", it stressed.

The release quoted Mr. Kwesi Enyan, the Managing Director of the mine, as saying that "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with MBC management, MBC's shareholders and the Ghana Mine Workers Union. This provides a great deal of certainty to affected workers as we assume full responsibility for our own underground development work. We believe that this is an important step in the transformation of Obuasi mine into a world class asset."

Mr. Enyan added: "We have a responsibility, not only to the people employed by the mine but also to the broader Obuasi community, to ensure that the decisions we take are in the interest of Obuasi's long term viability. I would like to thank all concerned for ensuring a smooth transition and look forward to working with the many hundreds of new AngloGold Ashanti employees as we embark upon the exciting prospect of conducting our own underground development."

It would be recalled that AGA-MBC underground development contract expired last three years but the decision to enter into re-negotiation could not work hence the termination of the contract.

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