Prestea-Bogoso Mine Crisis: Minerals Commission Vows To Protect Jobs
The Commission in a press release said, “The Commission wishes to assure the public of its unflinching commitment to ensure the effective and efficient management of the mineral resources of the country, the protection of mining investment in general and the Prestea Bogoso Mine in particular to protect jobs, the local Prestea economy, community development as well as revenue generation for the benefit of the good people of Ghana.”
The mining sector regulator also dismissed rumours that the commission had received request from FGR Bogoso Prestea Ltd to put the Prestea-Bogoso Mine under care and maintenance.
It explained that, neither the commission nor the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has received a formal application or request from FGR, even though FGR Bogoso Prestea Ltd, operators of the Prestea-Bogoso Mine, made a verbal presentation to the Lands Ministry to put the mine under care and maintenance, but they never followed up with any formal request, in accordance with the law.
“For the avoidance of doubt, neither the Ministry nor the Commission has received a formal application or request from FGR to put the Mine under Care and Maintenance,” an official release issued on Tuesday, January 30 by the Corporate Affairs Department stated.
The term ‘Care and maintenance’ is when a mining firm suspends the major operations of a mine such as the extraction of ore for processing. The firm only undertakes minor repair and remedial works at the mine to forestall complete deterioration of assets until restart and redevelopment.
The commission said, application to suspend production, clearly set out in section 51 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), required the holder of the mining lease to serve a notice to that effect on the minister.
It added that, if an application is received, it shall be considered in accordance with Applicable Regulations and in the best interest of the country.
“As indicated earlier, no such request or application has been submitted to the Minister. In the event that such an application is received, it shall be considered in accordance with applicable Regulations and the current state of the mine and a decision taken in the best interest of the Country,” the release noted.
The commission has meanwhile acknowledged that it was aware of the stoppage of mining operations in December 2023 due to some operational challenges.
It said, the commission issued a Notice to FGR in August 2023, to show cause why the Mining Lease should not be terminated due to identified breaches of the Mining Lease.
The notice, the commission explained, expired in December 2023 and, therefore, the regulator shall shortly advise the minister on the next steps following the expiration of the notice period.
The Prestea-Bogoso Mine is currently under the control of FGR Bogoso Prestea Ltd (FGR) and its principal shareholder is Blue International Holdings Limited, which is based in the United Kingdom.
The mine was previously operated by Golden Star Resources Limited until the asset was transferred to FGR.
Recall on Tuesday, workers of the Future Global Resources Bogoso-Prestea Mines (FGR) went on a demonstration over what they say is the mismanagement of the mine, which they claim has affected productivity and the payment systems of workers.
The general secretary of the senior staff union of FGR Bogoso-Prestea Mines, Samuel Kumi Manu, and other workers, speaking to Citi News during the demonstration, said the mine has not seen any investment since FGR took over in 2020.
They thus called on the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, to demand proof of financial capability from FGR to determine whether the mine should be taken from them.