Business News of Friday, 16 November 2018
Goldfields has presented cheques worth $16 million to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, being Advance Guarantee Payments and dividend on its Damang and Tarkwa mines.
The amount included one-million-dollar check covering Advance Guarantee Payment for the Damang mine, on which the company has development agreement with government.
Mr. Alfred Baku, Executive Vice President and Head of West Africa, speaking at the presentation in Accra on Friday, said the Damang mine was currently doing waste stripping or removing the waste to get the ore body and thus not making any revenue for that operation.
He noted however that everything was on schedule and within budget, adding that the stripping should be over by mid-2019, when it was expected to get to the heart of the ore body for actual mining of gold.
“Damang mine is doing very well and thank God that the government saw the wisdom to enter into the development agreement with the company. Following that we were able to actually save 200 odd people in terms of job opportunities,” he stated.
He noted that Goldfields currently had about 1.6 million ounces of Gold in its reserves at the Damang mine with about seven to eight-year life.
“We also believe that there is upside potential, that we can do exploration to extend that life. It’s all capital-based and we hope that with the development agreement that we have with government, we should be able to sustain the life of mine and even extend it,” he said.
He also presented a $5.8-million-dollar cheque being Advance Guarantee Payment, which is five percent of the mine’s profit before tax, and $9.2 million being dividend on Goldfields’ Tarkwa operations for 2017, making the total of $16 million.
“This is just for the dividend. We’ve not included the Corporate tax, royalties and all the others that we do,” he said, noting that the company’s corporate tax payments for the last five years alone amounted to about $380 million.
He added that the company had also implemented several other initiatives for the host communities where they operated, including employment priority in employment within the company and improvements and development works in the community.
“We are also tarring the road between Tarkwa and Damang to a first class, asphalt road that will last in excess of 20 years, at a cost of about $22million,” he stated, adding that the company will also pay an eight percent withholding tax amounting to $11 million to the Ghana Revenue Authority.
Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who received the cheques on behalf of Government, commended Goldfields for their exemplary actions particularly local participation in its operations, and alternate livelihood projects for members of the communities.
He said the Ministry had visited both the Damang and Tarkwa operations of the company and had witnessed the developments there firsthand.
He stated Government will crack the whip on mining companies who had defaulted on dividend payments to government, some for almost 10 ten years.
“We’ve written to all such companies and we are urging them to pay up, otherwise the whip will be cracked and we will deal with them as per our laws, particularly Act 703. You cannot do your business and sit on the little that has to come to government,” he said.
He added that the money paid by Goldfields, the second payment by a mining company, after the Chirano Gold Mine, which paid $13.5 million, will help Government implement its numerous flagship projects.