Each of the 6,500 workers of the AngloGold Ashanti due for retrenchment is expected to go home with 50,000 dollars or more.
The mining company is retrenching almost all of its staff at its Obuasi concession, triggering fears that economic activities in the Ashanti Region town would ground to a halt.
Meanwhile, the affected workers have welcomed the severance awards promised them, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini told Joy News on Friday.
“Suffice to say that from the information we have, many of the workers will receive in the region of 50,000 dollars or more. And our concern is how the workers will manage the resources until the mine is brought back on stream,” he remarked.
Already, he said, the company has engaged the workers and their spouses, and it is also in talk with companies who can help them manage their resources.
However, he said government is worried about the impact of the retrenchment on the local economy.
Alhaji Inusah Fuseini says government is still studying documents submitted by AngloGold Ashanti on the move, but “obviously there are concerns that we have raised”.
He said government is working with AngloGod Ashanti to see how to proceed with the restructuring process to prevent untoward hardship on workers.
The Minister also announced that government is also having discussions with the company on how to secure the integrity of the mine after closure: he promised galamsey miners would not be entertained there.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also working with AngloGold Ashanti to ensure that unused pits are reclaimed.
Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor reports that controversy is building up in Sansu where AngloGold Ashanti is expected to concentrate on surface mining for the next two years as it redevelops the underground mine in Obuasi.
Residents there are opposing the operation of the mine claiming over the years the community has not benefitted from the activities of the company. They claimed they were not compensated when they lost their farms to mining activities. The company has also failed to employ indigenes, they complained.
Though the concession belongs to AngloGold Ashanti, residents there have taken over, doing small scale mining.
The Assembly Member for Sansu electoral area, Benjamin Annan told Joy News they have set out two conditions AngloGold Ashanti has to meet before they would be allowed to operate there.
One, the distance between the mine and community should be 1-2 kilometers. But it would be unlikely for the mine to meet this requirement: the distance now is less than 1 kilometer, he explained. The other requirement is for the company to resettle them.