Ag. Australian High Commissioner Visit Perseus Edikan Gold Mine Site

From left: Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah, Brent Horochuk (EGM, Perseus), Keren-Happuch Osekre, Okofo (Nana) Twum Barimah V, Moutafis Zabeta, Kwesi Eyia-Mensah and Andrew Barnes (Ag. Australian High Commissioner).

From left: Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah, Brent Horochuk (EGM, Perseus), Keren-Happuch Osekre, Okofo (Nana) Twum Barimah V, Moutafis Zabeta, Kwesi Eyia-Mensah and Andrew Barnes (Ag. Australian High Commissioner).

Leading mining experts from the Australian Alumni in Ghana, have commended the management of Perseus Mining, an Australian Mining Company at Ayanfuri for their prudent and efficient way of mining with respect to local content and back-filling methodology, and even though they’re working on low grade ore at present, yet are able to break even.

The Mine Visit was organized by the Australian High Commission on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, which was led by the acting Australian High Commissioner, Mr Andrew Barnes; with Zabeta Moutafis, First Secretary at the Australian High Commission in participation.

The Australian Alumni participants were drawn from the Regulatory Agencies ie. Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Geological Survey Department (GSD); with representation from ASM Africa Network (ASMAN), a civil society organization working on Environmental Natural Resource Governance Advocacy, in particular, addressing the concerns of artisanal, small and medium scale mining.

Australian Alumni is an interest group that have participated in mining related capacity building programs administered by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded organizations including International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC), Australian Awards and Australian-African Partnership Facility (AAPF).

The goals of the interest group are for meaningful engagement, networking and the exchange of ideas between alumni that have been involved in mining related programs with IM4DC, Australians Awards and AAPF and also to identify and capture stories on the local mining for development context and Australia’s role in contributing to transformational change.

The purpose of the visit, according to Zabeta Moutafis, First Secretary of the Australian High Commission, is to expand knowledge and awareness of how an Australian company operates and manages a gold mine site in Ghana, exchanging information and views, and to build contacts and strengthen networks.

Welcoming the group to the Perseus Edikan Gold Mines, the Executive General Manager, Brent Horochuk, gave us an overview of the mines; from management, operation and security.

He said the Edikan Mine Site is being operated by an Australian Mining Company, Perseus Mining Limited and is located at Ayanfuri, south of Kumasi.

Perseus Mining Limited has forged a reputation as one of the world’s most successful gold explorers, which is focused on under-explored gold belts in West Africa, became a gold producer in 2011, and started commercial production on January 01, 2012.

The Executive General Manager continued that the Perseus Edikan Gold Mine in Ghana, formerly referred as the Central Ashanti Gold Project (CAGP) at Ayanfuri, has 5.25 million ounces of Measured and Indicated gold resources, including reserves of 2.36 Moz Inferred gold resources.

In an answer to a question on the view of the company towards small scale mining; and also the company’s support to one casualty of bullet wounds during recent clashes between the security agencies on behalf of the company versus the community, Mr Brent said the company recognizing the legitimacy of small scale mining but not when they’re encroaching on their property. He denied any known bullet wounds casualty during the August clashes, but was quick to say that a lot casualty occurs during armed robbery operations in the neighborhood but not on clashes with the company.

Mr. Brent concluded that illegal mining is different from galamsey. He emphasized that galamsey involves artisanal miners who want to eke a living without using any sophist, unlike the illegal miners who are using sophisticated earth moving equipment, causing much devastation to environmental degradation and pollution.

Other positive technical concerns observed by the alumni group is on how the company is rehabilitating the waste rock site concurrently; and also the tailings dam lined with lime to produce clean seepage.

An alumnus and Board Chairman of ASMAN, Okofo (Nana) Twum Barimah V, thanked the Ag. High Commissioner for Australia continuous support to the mining sector, adding that what they have seen is a testimony of the good work portraying the Australian identity worthy of emulation.

Nana continued that the course he undertook in Australia was “Community Aspects of Resource Development” and as the training has contributed significantly to the knowledge base in the sector and contribute to the broader development of Ghana to improve economic development and standards of living, hope the company will not be found wanting with the community.

Finally, an alumnus and small scale mining advocate, Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah said as per Perseus understanding of small scale mining, it dawn on the company in their own small way create conducive industrial collaboration and continued engagement with the small scale miners, which will bring about cordial co-existent to merit effective social license for increase productivity.

In concluding remarks, the Ag. Australian High Commissioner, Andrew Barnes, thanked Perseus Mining Limited and the Australian Alumni Group for making the Australian Alumni Perseus Mine Site Visit successful. He said it was interesting to see how the mine is operating and understands the many challenges it has with protecting and renovating the environment; meeting legal obligations and costs to make the work profitable; dealing with security and illegal miners; and the environmental destruction it causes, and meeting communities’ expectations.

In conclusion, His Excellency Barnes said the issues are complex and multi-faceted and it always good to increase our understanding.

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