Mining giant, AngloGold Ashanti, says the on-going redevelopment of the Obuasi Mine is on course despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The mine targets to produce 2,000 tonnes of gold daily in the first phase, having made the first pour late last year after the resumption of operations.
Emmanuel Baidoo, the Senior Sustainability Manager told JoyNews that some workers and contractors have tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Obuasi Mine is part of the Obuasi community, therefore, if something is happening in the community, it, directly and indirectly, have an impact on us.
“And we have some of our contractors who live in the community apart from the main mine employees who live in mine residential areas,” he said.
He explained that “Because we are in the project phase, we are working with a number of contractors who constitute about 60 per cent and over of our total employment who live in the town.
“So some of the cases are directly on the Mine and some of them are in town and we do interact with Obuasi township so it definitely has an impact on us.”
Mr Baidoo said says a work-from-home arrangement has assured uninterrupted operations.
AngloGold Ashanti poured its first gold in December 2019, amid fanfare after about five years of closure due to operational challenges.
Months of restructuring activities culminated in re-opening of the Mine in January 2019.
The Obuasi Mine had projected to increase daily tonnage of gold from 2000 tons to 4,000 after 2020.
The emergence of COVID-19 has, however, impacted negatively on the operations, as workers numbers were reduced.
“With Covid-19, we have had to reduce the number of people who work on the Mine so somehow it would definitely will impact on our deliverables but we are doing very well. Operation is ongoing but to talk of broader impact, it is obvious, we are affected”.
Despite the challenges, AGA insists plans to operationalise the Mine are on track.
“The project is on course; in terms of operations, it is on course and at the moment we don’t really anticipate any hitch. If there is any significant change, obviously, we will be more than happy to communicate with our stakeholders,” Mr Baidoo said.
Implementation of a three-year Social Management Plan to help diversify the local economy has been revised but the focus remained unchanged he said.
It covers education, healthcare and creation of alternative livelihood through agriculture.