AngloGold Ashanti halts Guinea mine over protests

18.11.2019, 15:55 - eeppo

South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti
(JSE:ANG) (NYSE:AU), the world’s third-biggest producer of the precious metal,
has halted operations at its Siguiri mine in Guinea after protesters
invaded the site on Friday, demanding the paving of a road.

The miner’s local subsidiary, Société
aurifère de Guinée (SAG), said the measure was taken after members of the Fatoyah
community occupied the mine facilities and built barricades, disrupting production.

Locals claim the company has not fulfilled its promise to tar a 30 km (18.6 mile) road linking the towns of Siguiri and Kintinian, but AngloGold says the project, carried out in partnership with the Guinean government, has already been completed.

Poverty and unemployment in Guinea lead to frequent community upheaval related to demands for employment, electricity and land access.

Spokesperson Stewart Bailey added
the company was in talks with community leaders to resolve the dispute.

Protests and mine invasions are not
foreign to AngloGold. Last year, production at Siguiri was stopped
for a day
as a result of a workers’ strike. While the action did not impact
full-year production, output at the mine was negatively impacted by a 16%
decrease in ore grades and an 11% fall in tonnes due to delays in the
commissioning of the carbon-in-leach (CIL) combination plant.

As a result, Siguiri produced
242,000 ounces (6.9 tonnes) of gold last year.

The socio-economic challenges of
poverty and unemployment in Guinea lead to frequent community upheaval related
to demands for employment, electricity and land access.

In the past fiscal year, locals
demanded AngloGold to provide them with access to inactive pits, which led to
various incidents, including invasion of the marginal stockpile.

The incidents were managed without
any significant conflict taking place, the company noted in an
operational profile
.

AngloGold Ashanti runs the Siguiri economic development programme (SEDP), which focuses on agricultural, skills and enterprise development projects aimed at developing small businesses and employment opportunities for local communities.

With files from Reuters.