AngloGold Ashanti invests $766m in Ghana since 2004

AngloGold Ashanti says it has invested $766 million in Ghana since 2004.

The gold mining company which is the world’s third-largest has said that its investments in Ghana after it took over Ashanti Goldfields in 2004 amounts to $766 million.

The company says it has been focusing on infrastructure, upgrading of mining methods and rectifying social and environmental legacies.

“Since this company’s entry into Ghana in 2004 following the AngloGold and Ashanti Goldfields business combination, AngloGold Ashanti has invested $766 million in the Ghanaian operations”, the company said adding, “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 company’s values”.

This was contained in an advertiser’s announcement in the Daily Graphic dated February 14, 2011 signed by Management in response to a bad corporate citizen award that the company was awarded in Switzerland.

AngloGold Ashanti was one of the recipients of the 2011 “Public Eye Awards” given on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this year. AngloGold Ashanti was awarded for being one of the world’s worst companies for bad corporate behaviour in Ghana.

According to AngloGold Ashanti, its nomination in respect of human rights and environmental management performance in Ghana is undeserved.

“We believe that AngloGold Ashanti’s 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”, the company said.

It added “We believe that, on the whole, we do meet these goals, and are willing to be judged against them.”

According to Greenpeace and Swiss left-wing group the Berne Declaration (BD), organizers of the 2011 “Public Eye Awards” edition, AngloGold Ashanti was given the award for the contamination of land and poisoning of people from gold mining in Ghana.

The award is given to companies with irresponsible corporate behaviour.

A Reuters report also says the mining firm had the award for “mistreating people in Ghana and polluting rivers”.

On the Public Eye Awards website, WACAM, a a civil society organisation which nominated AngloGold Ashanti for the award, says in its summary notes “The South African mining company AngloGold Ashanti contaminates land and people with its gold mining in Ghana. To extract 30 kg (66 lb) of gold, 6,000 tons of rock are mined every day, then ground up and mixed with cyanide in tanks. The highly-toxic mining waste is kept in large storage ponds that contaminate rivers and wells, as well as all those who (must) drink from them”.

“No wonder AngloGold Ashanti received the worst possible rating for social and environmental protection from the Ghanaian Environmental Protection Agency in a recent industry comparison”, WACAM added.

The awards website also showed a clip on YouTube in which young men on crutches are seen along with trucks driving in open-pit mines.

AngloGold Ashanti owns two mines in Ghana at Obuasi and Iduapriem.

By Ekow Quandzie

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