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Gold Fields to lay off 500 workers

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Gold Fields Ghana Limited has embarked on a restructuring of its Tarkwa and Damang mines as a result of production challenges and the fall in the price of gold.

More than 500 employees of the two mines are expected to be laid off at the end of the restructuring.

 Between 150 and 160 workers of the Damang mine will be laid off by the end of this year, while those to be affected at the Tarkwa mine will begin next year.

 The newly appointed Senior Vice President of Gold Fields for the West Afr`ica Region, Mr Alfred Baku, announced this when he paid a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief of the Wassa Fiase Traditional Area, Osagyefo Kwamina Ennimil, at Tarkwa.

 Mr Baku, who held the position of Vice President (Operations) for West Africa before his new appointment, is the first Ghanaian to be appointed to that position.

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 He said gold production of the two mines had reduced, while cost of production had gone very high, pointing out that these had posed some challenges to the company.

 He said the Tarkwa mine was producing 730,000 ounces of gold annually, but this had reduced to about 630,000 ounces a year, with production at the Damang mine dropping from 200,000 ounces of gold a year to 150,000 ounces.

 Mr Baku said gold price had also dropped to US$1300 an ounce and expressed concern about tax increases which he said had affected revenue.

 He said taxes had been increased from 23 per cent to 35 per cent, while royalties had been raised from three per cent to five per cent.

 Osagyefo Ennimil congratulated Mr Baku on his new appointment, adding that he got it through hard work.

 He urged the management of the company to go about the restructuring programme with a human face, since the exercise would not only affect those who would be laid off but also their dependants.

 Osagyefo Ennimil also advised the mining company to always try to settle disputes, misunderstandings and disagreements with its mining communities amicably and outside the courts.

 Kwame Asiedu Marfo/Daily Graphic/Ghana