AngloGold Ashanti, a gold mining company, has dragged the government to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) to seek redress for losses it has suffered due to the withdrawal of military personnel from its mining concessions.
Information gathered by the Daily Graphic was that the mining company resorted to ICSID, which is based in Washington, DC, following the nuisance posed by illegal miners as a result of the military’s withdrawal.
The company is arguing that the military was withdrawn despite an outstanding agreement for it (military) to provide security.
The case, which was registered on May 2, 2016, has been listed on ICSID’s website as Case No. ARB/16/15.
AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana Limited) is the claimant in the case while the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the Attorney-General of the Republic of Ghana are the respondents.
According to the publication on the ICSID website, the tribunal was yet to be constituted for the hearing of the case to commence.
Sources told the Daily Graphic the company was seeking the payment of compensation for suffering in the hands of illegal miners following the pulling out of the military from its mine sites.
Daily Graphic also learnt that the company had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the military to provide protection for its mines and equipment but the military pulled out in February this year.
The legal teams for the mining company and the Attorney-General’s Department have declined to disclose the full content of the arbitration documents but the Daily Graphic has gathered that the government is engaging lawyers to legally battle it out with the mining company.
Documents on the case are yet to be uploaded on ICSID’s website.
The company recently reiterated its worry over the continued activities of illegal gold miners at its Obuasi Mine in the Ashanti Region.
It was particularly worried over the situation where illegal miners, popularly known as galamsey operators, had been looting the company’s high-grade gold-bearing material for months.
The Managing Director (MD) of AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi Mine, Mr Eric Asubonteng, told journalists recently that since the security forces were withdrawn at the beginning of February this year following a clash between the management of the Obuasi Mine and some illegal miners which led to the death of the mine’s corporate affairs manager, invasion of the mine’s concessions by illegal miners had continued undiminished.
He said the authorities had been informed of developments, including the damage being caused to the mine and the Obuasi community and the long-term prospects for the natural resource.
He stated that the hopes of AngloGold Ashanti were temporarily raised when it was announced that President Mahama had directed the return of the Ghana Army to the Obuasi Mine, adding, however, that on March 26, 2016, the military received an instruction to pull back to guard only certain limited parts of the mine.
“To this day, the illegal miners continue to operate with impunity on the richest parts of the ore body. We are at a loss to understand how a clear directive has been ignored. We fear serious and lasting consequences if the situation is allowed to continue,” Mr Asubonteng said.