Revamp the Obuasi Mine to create jobs
Brother Chair, The Obuasi Mine remains a clear subject of great interest and concern to us as an organization and for that matter the nation as a whole. It is a major asset to the State and presents enormous economic potential to the Obuasi Municipality and the nation as a whole. Brother Chair, only a few years ago, the Obuasi Mine, one of the most revered, highly sort-after and promising gold deposits in the world, fed over 5000 employees and their families, and indeed contributed several millions of dollars to the national kitty. Prior to its untimely demise, it was the major economic growth pole for the Obuasi Municipality. It churned into the Obuasi economy, several direct and indirect jobs, contributed in very immense ways to the nation's foreign exchange earnings, as well as, its GDP. It is also on record to have consistently led the league of gold producers as the highest producer of gold in the industry. Today the same cannot be said of the Obuasi Mine. Like many mining towns, Obuasi is gradually becoming a "ghost town" with all its attendant problems and challenges. Indeed, most businesses which moved into the Obuasi Municipality during the vibrant days of the Mine, are gradually pulling out, and redirecting their investments and businesses to more favourable and profitable destinations. It is therefore not surprising that many young men and women, and even children, have taken to "galamsay" as the most productive alternative to the current hopelessness that stares at them day after day. Government's role is therefore critical in salvaging the situation. Whilst reminding the parties, particularly Anglogold about the commitments and obligations made prior to the major restructuring of the Mine in 2014, let me particularly register my deepest disappointment with the government's continuous lackluster attitude towards the revamping of the great Obuasi Mine, despite our numerous incessant calls to it. Suffice me to say that not only did we call on government to take keen interest in the Obuasi Mine and its future, we also encouraged government based on the resource potential of the Mine to take steps to increase its stake, particularly in this era of a plummeting gold price and a relatively cheaper commodity regime. Sadly, these calls have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears, accounting largely for our inability to revamp the Obuasi Mine. Let me remark however that we came very close to rejuvenating the Obuasi Mine, when Anglogold announced its partnership arrangements with Rangold barely a year ago. A lot of interest groups, particularly the inhabitants of Obuasi and its environs were highly elated when these announcements were made about the new relationship between these two mining giants. Unfortunately, this rather terrific news was short-lived and indeed, was never actualized. As at now, the reasons are still unknown, why this brilliant and promising initiative suddenly fizzled out a few days after its announcement. We cannot procrastinate the revamping efforts of the Obuasi Mine any further, whiles innocent people needlessly continue to live and die in poverty and deprivation. Consequently, we are calling on the government to prioritize the revamping of the Obuasi Mine within the shortest possible time in order to save lives, save families and marriages, shore up the country's foreign exchange, grow the economy, and above all restore the glory of the Obuasi Mine back to its rightful and well-deserved place in the league of gold producing mines in Ghana.