The management of AngloGold Ashanti is mounting a strong defense against accusations by some Obuasi residents that the company is not doing enough to develop the mining town.
In recent years, Obuasi residents have staged many protests and reiterated calls for the company to play a key role in addressing the unemployment situation in the area.
Some community members have used the unemployment issue in the area as justification to invade AngloGold’s concession and engage in illegal mining.
Speaking to journalists in Obuasi as part of a media tour of its facilities, AngloGold’s Sustainability Manager, Emmanuel Baidoo, said that following the resumption of operations in 2019, the company has spent millions of dollars in tackling various challenges.
“The hospital we built has become a referral center. Most Obuasi residents and those in the surrounding areas use this facility. The equipment is found in most advanced countries. The hospital employs more than 200 staff, and we have carried out many intervention programs where millions of dollars have been spent. Between 2019 and 2020, we supported the Obuasi government hospital to build a maternity block with state-of-the-art equipment.”
“So when there are news reports that AngloGold Ashanti is being irresponsible, we sometimes believe that the facts need to be told. We may not be able to address all of our developmental needs, but we believe that we have not been irresponsible. We have impacted over 12,000 community members, and we have registered about 7,000 people on the National Health Insurance Scheme since 2019,” Mr. Baidoo asserted.
He highlighted the various roles the company is playing in addressing challenges facing Obuasi and its environs, and called on community members to give them the needed support to ensure the company does not collapse again.
“Our willingness to contribute to something that will help change the narrative is critical. And so we ensure that the plan is reflected at all levels. We are a responsible corporate entity. We had a workshop and were able to identify our goals and outcomes. The plans reflect the realities in the communities, the needs of the communities, and also reflect the local development plan of the metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDCEs).”
“We believe that in order to remain relevant to the socio-economic development of Obuasi and its environs, we need to vigorously pursue our sustainability and growth strategy. I believe this is what the people of Obuasi need. So if people let us stop operations, we are defeating this. We will not continue to exist. I don’t think that is what Ghana or the people of Obuasi want. We want to be close to the people to rewrite the narrative and make Obuasi what we all want,” he stated.