INTERNATIONAL - Ghana’s largest mineworkers’ union plans protests and strikes throughout operations in the country if the government allows Gold Fields Ltd.’s local unit to dismiss more than 2,000 staff as it starts the process of hiring a contractor to operate its biggest mine in the West African nation.
Gold Fields is committing “acts of corporate greed aimed at amassing huge profits at the expense of Ghanaian mine workers,” Prince William Ankrah, general secretary of the 16,000-member Ghana Mine Workers Union, said in an interview Thursday in Accra, the capital.
“We cannot allow this to happen, all the reasons given by Gold Fields are flawed,” he said. “We will send a delegation to protest at the company’s next annual general meeting to let all shareholders know how their management is cheating workers.”
People who answered calls to Gold Fields’s local office said no one was available to answer questions. Calls to the mobile phone of Alfred Baku, the company’s West Africa head, weren’t answered.
A contractor will take charge of the Tarkwa operations this year as the deposit’s remaining life span is too short to replace aging mine equipment, Gold Fields said in December. Tarkwa produces about 550,000 ounces of gold annually and has about five to six years left for its current design.
Ghana is the continent’s biggest gold producer after South Africa and accounted for a third of Gold Fields’s revenue in 2016. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Newmont Mining Corp. also operate in the country.