The Vice President John Dramani Mahama has assured mining companies that the new tax initiates announced by government in the 2012 annual budget and subsequently approved by parliament should not be seen as punitive or a deliberate attempt to cripple the mining sector.

He explained that the introduction of these measures is intended to create an enabling environment for the country to derive maximum economic and social benefits from the mining industry. He added that as partners in development, the time has come for the mining sector to contribute its due share to development of the country.

Speaking at the official opening of Edikan Gold Mine (EGM) at Ayanfuri — a Perseus Mining (Ghana) Limited gold project in which the government of Ghana holds a 10% free carry interest — the Vice President expressed his joy that as much as about 48% of the workforce is from the surrounding communities; in so doing providing a means of livelihood and by this means curbing the rural urban migration for nonexistent jobs.

He urged Perseus Mining not to limit its training programmes only to the youth of its mining communities, but to include other less-endowed communities in the country as well.  

He also assured the mining industry of government’s preparedness to do all it can to eradicate the activities of illegal miners, popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’.

As part of its social corporate responsibility, the Company — even before its commercial production — had set up the Edikan Trust Fund with a seed money of GH¢750,000.  For this, the Vice President highly commended Perseus Mining and appealed to the Company to engage all the major stakeholders, including the people and traditional authorities of the area, in the disbursement of the fund.

Perseus Mining (Ghana) Limited (PMGL) is a company incorporated in Ghana under the Ghana Companies Code 1963 (Act 179) with its parent company domiciled in Australia. Perseus holds 90% ordinary shares in PMGL through Kojina Resources Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Perseus. The Government of Ghana holds a 10% free carry interest pursuant to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).

PMGL began exploring the adjoining Ayanfuri and Nanankaw leases in July 2006, and completed a mining feasibility study in July 2009.  The Ayanfuri and Nanankaw mining leases were issued on 31st December 2009 with an initial term of 15-years expiring in December 2024.

The Ayanfuri and Nanankaw mining leases together constitute the Edikan Gold Mine, located on the Ashanti Belt some 25km-65km from the 60-million ounce Obuasi gold deposit.

From a gold resource of about 300,000 ounces at the time of acquisition in 2006, Edikan after expending significant exploration funds currently holds 5.6 million ounces of measured and indicated resources, 1.7 million of inferred resources, and 3.3 million ounces in gold reserves.

Upon completion of construction of Edikan in August 2011 at the cost of US$165million, the first gold pour was achieved in the same month.

Commercial production of Edikan was announced on January 1st 2012, with current production targets now at 55,000 ounces per quarter at a cash cost of US$690/ounce.  This is expected to meet targetted annual production of 230,000 ounce per annum.

Nana Prah Agyensaim VI, Board Chairman, PMGL, in his opening address mentioned that the expected first-year operating revenue is about US$350,000,000 with the expectation of increase in the years to come, and assured all stakeholders including the Government and operational communities of their fair share.

He stated that the project may be the leading private project in the Central Region and generates the highest revenue to the Government — and is also the single-largest employer in the region with an over 1,000-workforce, of which about 52% are from within the operational communities.

The Sector Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mike Hammah, took the opportunity to explain government interventions and policies on mining activities.

By Kizito CUDJOE, Ayamfuri

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