AngloGold Ashanti Ghana (AGAG) has reacted to unemployment concerns raised by the Obuasi Youth Community Mining Association through a demonstration.

A group of irate youth on Tuesday hit the street to register their displeasure with what they described as the worsening unemployment rate in the area.

Dubbed Obuasi deserves better, the protesters accused AngloGold of sidelining them with regard to its employment opportunities, hence demanding lands are released for community mining.

The organisers of the demonstration subsequently petitioned the Management of Anglogold Ashanti Obuasi mine over the matter.

But, in a statement released by AngloGold, it said it appreciates that unemployment is one of the most prevalent socio-economic challenges in Ghana, and Obuasi is not any different.

It, however, noted that since the commencement of the  Obuasi Redevelopment Project in 2019, the company has prioritised the employment of residents from the Obuasi communities, specifically Adansi and Amansie.

This, the statement explained, was in varying capacities and in temporary and permanent roles with the priority status of local communities formalised through a Local Employment Procedure.

“Through a three-year Social Management Plan, from 2019 to 2021, the company has also made a significant investment in its host communities, including in the areas of education, skills development, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure support, and local content.

“Also, through its 10-year Socio-economic Development Plan, from 2021, AngloGold Ashanti continues to demonstrate its firm commitment to the development of the Obuasi communities by fostering local economic growth and nurturing relationships with the host communities,” the statement detailed.

AngloGold Ashanti also noted it contributes $2 for each ounce of gold it produces to the Obuasi  Community Trust Fund, which has the primary objective of funding projects in the communities, based on the recommendations of the communities themselves.

On the demand for lands, the company noted it has, in recent times, surrendered over 70% of its original mining lease to the Minerals Commission and has only retained areas critical to its current and future mining and infrastructural requirements.

“Only the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources can grant a mining lease. AngloGold Ashanti does not have the power to release any portion of land which falls within the mining lease area to third parties,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, AngloGold says its principal focus is the safety of its employees and host communities and all the necessary precautions are in place to ensure safety.

Below is the full statement: