The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Peter Amewu, has taken a swipe at the management of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana for not staying true to its declared commitment to give preference to Ghanaian contractors over foreign counterparts in the award of major contracts for its two mines in the country.
Speaking at the company’s suppliers’ open day in Accra yesterday, Mr Amewu stated that AngloGold had already advertised and shortlisted two foreign contractors and questioned the relevance of the open day.
The event was organised to bring together current and potential local and international suppliers for the top executives of the mining company to share with them the opportunities, processes and procedures they needed to follow to win mining contracts.
Mr Amewu stated that although the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources had been having discussions with AngloGold for the past one year, the company in the middle of the discussions shortlisted two foreign companies to execute its contracts at the Obuasi and Iduapriem mines in the Western Region.
“I have the feeling that this gathering of local suppliers is a mere propaganda to send signals to Ghanaians that AngloGold will be doing things differently,” he stated.
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He further explained that the ministry got to know of the shortlisting of the two foreign contractors on the evening of Monday, March 26, 2018.
Time for equity
Mr Amewu stated that since the commencement of mining minerals in the country over the past 100 years, there has not been a single indicator to show that Ghanaians had actually benefited from their resources.
He pointed out that while the government was not against foreign companies, they must “take note that the resources belong to Ghanaians.”
Mr Amewu expressed strong reservation at the posture of the company and pointed out that “we do not want Ghanaian ownership, we are asking for equity in ownership.”
Role of Ghanaians
The minister noted that when the top executives of the AngloGold Ashanti met with the President, there was a clear consensus that henceforth mining operations would be done differently.
He stressed that it was time Ghanaians played major roles in mining activities in the country, adding that the Minerals Commission had been charged to forward to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources the list of mining contracts.
Additionally, the minister expressed worry at the alarming number of illegal small-scale miners across the country who needed to be absorbed by licensed mining firms owned largely by Ghanaians.
The Executive Vice-President of Sustainability of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana, Mr David Noko, said the company had placed priority in offering contracts to local Ghanaian contractors.
He, therefore, expressed the readiness of the company to work with indigenous contractors to enable them to leverage the opportunities being offered by the company to bid for various contracts at the Obuasi mine which would commence operation in 2019 ,as well as at the Iduapriem which was currently in operation.
For his part, the Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana, Mr Eric Asubonteng, said as part of the company’s preference to do business with Ghanaian contractors, the company planned to inject resources to support local SMEs in its catchment areas not only to build their capacity but also aid them to access a little finance to sustainably build and grow their businesses.
That, he said, would also empower them to compete effectively at the local and national levels, access new markets and finance to grow beyond the mine and its life span.