Obuasi, Oct. 20, GNA - The European Union (EU) has provided 40 million Euros under its Mining Sector Support Programme (MSSP) towards the improvement of the country's mining industry. The programme, which will become fully operational by next year, has commenced with the establishment of an implementation unit and the preparation of tenders and advertisement.
Mr Wim Olthof, Charge' d' Affairs of the EU Mission in Ghana, announced these at Obuasi on Tuesday when a delegation of the Mission led by Mr Arie C.A. van der Wiel, its President and Ambassador of the Netherlands, visited the Obuasi mine. Other members of the group included the Ambassadors of Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany and Mr Bob Hensen, Commercial Attach=E9 of the Netherlands Embassy.
Miss Joyce Aryee, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines and Mr Kwaku Akosah-Bempah, the Chief Financial Officer of AngloGold Ashanti, West Africa, accompanied the delegation. Mr Olthof said the programme included the provision of information on mining regarding geological mapping and geo-physical survey for adequate information on underground mining. He said the plan would assist in the institutional strengthening of mining agencies such as the Mines Department, the Ministry of Mines, the Minerals Commission and the Geological Survey Department.
Mr Olthof also hinted that the exercise would deal with environmental and social issues including the surveying of various mines and how best the mining communities would be supported. He said the fourth component would deal with the provision of infrastructure within the Western corridor of the mining industry including the manganese and the bauxite mines. Mr Olthof said the mining sector support scheme would offer better information base on the country's mining to promote investment in the industry and provide an enabling environment for individual mining companies to increase production.
Miss Aryee said Ghana was a predominantly gold country with over 50 per cent gold deposits yet to be exploited and that "Ghana will continue to be a gold country for many years". She said aside the mineral deposits, there were three other major diamond deposits in Ashanti and Eastern Regions apart from that of Awaso. Miss Aryee said mining and agriculture would continue to be the two main economic activities in the world for a long time, saying the mining sector employed more than 80,000 people within the Chamber in the country. She said the Chamber was committed to finding lasting solution to illegal mining (galamsey) within concessional area of the various mines. The leader of the delegation, Ambassador van der Wiel, who visited the 23 and 26 levels of the 21st Century Mine, and the Sulphide Treatment Plant expressed said he was satisfied about the trip. He said: "You have given us an opportunity to learn about mining and its geological aspects" adding that the work of AngloGold Ashanti was impressive.
Ambassador van der Wiel observed that the country's mining industry had a bright future, and commended AngloGold Ashanti for offering employment to many people and promoting the country's economy. Mr Adrian de Freitas, the acting Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine, briefed the delegation on the prospects of the Obuasi Mine and said the future of the mine was bright because it had adequate resources and reliable manpower to move the Company forward. He said the Mine was averagely working around level 1200 metres with 10 million ounces of reserves above 1500 meters level. The delegation had since left for Accra.