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Goldfields to send home 500 workers … blames it on fall in gold price and high production cost

miningAbout 500 employees (locals and expatriates) of the Gold Fields Ghana Limited (Tarkwa and Damang Mines) are to be retrenched due to the fall in gold price and cost of production. One hundred and fifty of the 500 employees from the Damang Mine will be affected by the close of this year — however workers of Tarkwa Mine will not be affected for the meantime.

Mr. Alfred Baku, Vice President Operations for West Africa of Gold Fields, disclosed this when he visited the Omanhene of Wassa Fiase Traditional Area, Osagyefo Dr. Kwamena Enimil, at Tarkwa to officially introduce himself after he assumed his new position, effective August 1, 2013. He explained that about a year ago, gold price was between US$1600 and US$1700: at the moment gold price has dropped to US$1300, and the Tarkwa production which used to be 730 ounces a year has dropped to 630 ounces.

“We want to restructure, since the cost of production has become so high — the pit at Damang has become small — it is left with only 35 metres — and since safety is our hallmark and that we cannot mine safely at Damang, we have to leave that pit which is unsafe,” he added.

Again, he explained that over, the years what has been sustaining the mining companies is the gold price; and now that the price has fallen over the last six months, the company is left with no other option than to take some drastic measures.

“If we could get some tax-relief from government, it would help in some way. The fiscal regime which was’ 25% is now 35%; if it was reduced to 30% it would help us a lot,” he appealed.

Osagyefo Dr. Kwamena Enimil, the Omanhene, of Wassa Fiase Traditional Area, congratulated Mr. Alfred Baku on his new position and asked all to rally behind him for a successful tenure.

On restructuring, he urged the company to reconsider its decision since it would affect the employees and their dependants: “Do well to solve issues between the company and the communities in which you operate amicably, rather than resorting to the court”. Mr. Alfred Baku has been appointed to the position of Senior Vice-President for the West Africa region, as well as member of the Gold Fields Group Executive Committee.

Source: B&FT

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