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30.03.2004 Business & Finance

BGL increases production in 2003

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Sekondi, March 30, GNA - The Bogoso Goldfields Limited (BGL), a subsidiary of the Golden Star Resources, produced 174,315 ounces of gold in 2003, the highest since it started mining activities in the country about six years ago. The excellent performance enabled the company to post a record profit of 22 million U.S dollars in the year under review to make it an emerging force in the mining sector.

Mr. Nell Stevenson, Acting General Manger, disclosed this at Sekondi on Monday, when he led senior management staff to brief the Western Regional Security Council (REGSEC) on the operations of the company in the Wassa West District. He attributed the comparatively excellent performance of the company to efficient government economic policies that invigorated and supported the private sector. Mr. Stevenson said BGL's gold production was expected to go up to between 185,000 and 210,000 ounces by the end of 2004 and further increased to more than 350,000 ounces in 2005.

The company would increase its investment in the country, he said, adding that, it had embarked on vigorous expansion programme that included surface and underground exploration and acquisition of modern equipment that would enable it to undertake deep underground drilling to enhance its operations.

Mr. Andrew Goode, General Manager of the Wassa Mines spoke of the activities of Galamsey operators, which posed security threat to the company and its staff. Recently more than 250 Galamsey operators working in the company's concessions attacked security staff of the company and disarmed and assaulted senior personnel. He spoke about the health hazards the public, including the Galamsey operators themselves were exposed to in the use of chemicals including mercury. He said a way must be found to bring these illegal miners together to operate as small-scale miners so that their activities could be monitored and controlled, and added that a memorandum on this had been submitted to the Minerals Commission.

An alternative livelihood programme for people living in its operational areas had been evolved to support their economic activities, he said Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister and chairman of REGSEC acknowledged the concerns of the government over the activities of Galamsey operators and said it would require the concerted efforts of both the government and the mining companies to find lasting solutions to the problem. He said the problems of Galamsey operation became pronounced when some of the mining companies closed down their operations to make hundreds of people unemployed. Mr. Aidoo said even though REGSEC was constrained in many ways, it would continue to collaborate with these companies to enhance security at the mining companies.

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