The Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS) observes high employment expectations from the take-over among community members.
“People expect many will be employed. If that happens, then it is a good deal but if otherwise then they will be disappointed… how they manage the expectations will define whether the company will be successful or not,” observed Prince Aboagye, CeSIS Programs Director for Extractives.
Over 3,000 workers of the mining company were laid off under the company’s retrenchment exercise when the Anglogold Ashanti began a restructuring process at Obuasi two years ago.
Some businesses and institutions have had to fold up whiles others struggle to stay in business because their operations relied on the gold mine.
The announced merger between Anglogold Ashanti and Randgold Resources Limited might have breathed life into the community as employment expectations rise.
The redevelopment and operation of the Obuasi mine is expected to begin early 2016.
Small scale miners in Obuasi have began pushing for negotiations with Anglogold Ashanti to acquire abandoned concessions in the municipality.
The miners explain though they have licenses, they do not have their own concessions to mine and therefore have had to rely on part of Anglogold Ashanti’s concessions.
“Our main problem is how to get a land cover concession to conduct our business because all concession in this area is for Anglogold,” explained Rufus Borry, General Secretary of the Small Scale Miners Association in Obuasi.
Anglogold Ashanti owns all land-cover concessions at Bekwai, Amansie, Adansi and Obuasi, rendering the operations of the over 13,000 small scale miners illegal.
Operations of the artisanal miners halted in 2013 when a ministerial taskforce undertook an operation to clamp down on illegal miners in the country.
The miners are therefore optimistic of going back into business but want assistance to negotiate terms with the mining company.
For close to three years, these miners have struggled to make ends-meet as mining remains their only source of livelihood.
Mr. Borry pleads “We want government to also intervene so that we will resume our negotiation with Anglogold Ashanti”, as the company begins next year.
But CeSIS smells doom if the mining company fails to manage the expectation of local communities.
“Somebody has to come out and clear the airwaves as to whether indeed people are going to be employed and how many. So we need to manage the expectation and the truth has to be told now,” said Prince Aboagye.
Meanwhile, Municipal Chief Executive of Obuasi, Richard Ofori-Agyeman Boadi says negotiations have already begun.
“We are deeply involved and I am the person leading it. We don’t want to do anything outside the law,” he said.
He noted that the Assembly is looking for a place where the indigenes can carry out legitimate artisanal mining.
“It is something we are seriously working on,” he said.
However, both the municipal assembly and the civil society group want the new management to adhere to local content demands – to give employment priority to indigenes.