We refer to the Public Eye award recently conferred on AngloGold Ashanti by two NGOs. We believe that AngloGold Ashantis nomination, in respect of its human rights and environmental management performance in Ghana, is undeserved. We seek to operate in these respects, and in all others, in a professional and socially and environmentally sensitive manner befitting a responsible corporate citizen. We believe that, on the whole, we do meet these goals, and are willing to be judged against them.
In Ghana in particular, any assessment of our performance needs to be seen in the context of the more than 110 year history of mining. In the past, parts of the countrys mineral endowment were exploited using mining and environmental management methods that are unsatisfactory by todays standards.
Since this companys entry into Ghana in 2004 following the AngloGold and Ashanti Goldfields business combination, AngloGold Ashanti has invested $766 million in the Ghanaian operations. This investment has been focused on reshaping the aged infrastructure, upgrading the mining methods and seeking to rectify, as rapidly and as far as possible, both social and environmental legacies, in accordance with the companys values. Eliminating a more than 100-year legacy at Obuasi could not be achieved in the less than seven years.
At the same time, our performance has not been unflawed. That is illustrated by the oversights which led to the Ghanaian EPAs actions early last year which resulted in us closing our Iduapriem operations for 10 weeks while constructing an interim tailings storage facility (TSF). We have been working closely with the EPA in the past year to correct these issues. We anticipate the completion of new water treatment facilities at both the Obuasi and Iduapriem operations during the course of 2011.
Regarding the allegations related to the behaviour of security personnel, we are aware of a number of allegations dating between 1995 and 2006, the last of which was very early in the life of AngloGold Ashantis work in Ghana. The NGO Wacam, which nominated us for this award, has confirmed that AngloGold Ashanti has interacted with them a great deal on these legacy cases, though it has been difficult to reach finality on events where there is no conclusive evidence, despite the best efforts of both parties. We take consolation that there have been no allegations of 2 new incidents since early 2006. This is surely evidence that our efforts in this sphere, based on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human rights framework, have borne fruit.
In conclusion, we acknowledge that while more than a century of mining in Ghana has contributed greatly to economic development, it has also left social, economic and environmental legacies that need to be addressed. AngloGold Ashanti has not only committed to playing its part in addressing these issues, but believes that its actions of the past six years and in years to come will contribute greatly to creating and sustaining an improved environment for the people of Ghana.
Mr John Owusu
General Manager, Public Affairs