AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Gold Mines has held its 16th annual non-denominational thanksgiving service at Akyempim, a suburb of Tarkwa in the Western Region.
The focus of the service was to appreciate God for his guidance, support and faithfulness over the smooth operations of the Mines.
It was held on the theme "Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy."
Reverend John Otoo of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) Judah Temple, Tarkwa, in a sermon said exalting the Lord was admiring him, living a life of integrity, decency, high moral standards, righteousness and love for the Lord.
He said "It is easy for us to say praise the Lord, we bless the Lord and attend church but our lives do not exalt the Lord".
According to him, God recognizes AAI Gold Mines consistency in acknowledging him for 16 years, adding that "The Lord wants to be part throughout, at the input stage, processing stage and output stage, he wants to be with you".
Rev. Otoo in his message challenged the mining company to make thanksgiving part of their daily activities.
The Managing Director of Iduapriem Gold Mine, Mr Jasper Musadaidzwa, said 2017 was a good year for Iduapriem because they met all their Key Performance Indicators for the fifth consecutive year.
He said gold production for the year was 228 thousand ounces (koz) as against 219 koz.
Mr Musadaidzwa explained that in 2017 they also tested their business and sailed very close to the limit.
He said the company recorded five days stoppage on mills in February and 14 days on Primary Crusher in September.
"Despite these challenges, it is noteworthy to mention that 2017 gold production is the highest the CIL plant has produced since the plant was commissioned in 2012," he indicated.
The General Manager said the company also planned to invest and this was marked by the commencement of a major cutback to open up the deep gold resource in the Teberebie pit.
This, he said was capital intensive as they have to strip nearly 200 meters depth of waste material to access the ore, saying this would go a long way to extend the life of the mines at Iduapriem.
According to him, their All-in-Sustaining Cost (AiSC) for last year came in at $1,033 ounce as compared to a budget of $1,09 ounce.
He said "for us to create a business that is resilient through all business cycles we have prioritized the reduction of AiSC to below $ 900/oz and surpass 250koz of gold production in 2018 and beyound".
In pursuing this objective, the General Manager emphasized that the end of 2017 saw them lifting the effort in operational excellence to the whole new level.
Mr Musadaidzwa said the mining firm's would focus on achieving benchmark efficiencies and productivities in each and every process of the mines value chain.
He expressed appreciation to the employees, contractors and stakeholders for not only embracing the new approach, but also helped walked this new course with them.
Mr Musadaidzwa started that last year the company received six major awards for its sterling performance at the Ghana Chamber of Mines and Industry awards, where excellence in the mining industry was recognized annually.
Out of the six awards, he said the best female miner, best performer in innovation and runner-up in corporate social investment went to Iduapriem and the remaining was received by their contracted partners.
In addition the General Manager announced that the mines had two awards from the John Hopkins University in partnership with the Malaria Safe Awards for their contribution towards the fight against malaria.
Touching on sustainability, he explained that the company would ensure that their host communities are self-sufficient in the area of food security.
Mr Musadaidzwa said in pursuit of this, they have started a vegetable project in Teberebie, one of its host communities and it is in line with the central government's policy on vegetable production dubbed "Planting for food and jobs".
He said in the current 2018 planting season, AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited would support forty men and women at Teberebie in the vegetable production.
He further said additional eighty people would be selected in other communities for demonstration farms with focus on access improved seeds and best farming practices in vegetable production and marketing.
In a speech read on behalf of the Western Regional Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, said AAI Gold Mine has partnered government in its developmental agenda in the provision of educational infrastructure, water and sanitation and numerous projects in other sectors of the economy.
He said the government also appreciates the effort of the company in establishing the AngloGold Trust Fund, which he believed would go a long way to support the development agenda of the government and communities within the mines operational area.
Dr Afriyie noted that government's stand against illegal mining was still firm and emphasized that everything was being done to halt the menace.
The Western Regional Minister added that the government needed support and commitment of all stakeholders, particularly the Chiefs and landlords, to end the canker else posterity would not forgive them.
By Erica Apeatua Addo, GNA