Understanding the strike action of Future Global Resources (FGR) Staffers: What we know so far

Future Global Resources (FGR)

Over the past few months, news emanating from Bogoso had been riddled with complaints about the alleged mismanagement of one of the major mining sites in the community. News reports on the matter have been captured by various newsrooms, with some reporting on plans to take over the mine by the Ghana Mine Workers Union as recently as Feb. 6, 2024.

Future Global Resources (FGR) is a portfolio of Blue International Holdings mining and energy companies registered in the UK, owned by UK and US private investors, and operating in sub-Saharan Africa since 2011.

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Blue International Holdings formed FGR in 2020 as a wholly-owned subsidiary. In October 2020, FGR acquired the Bogoso Prestea Mine from Golden Star Resources, with FGR owning a majority share of 90% and the Government of Ghana owning the remaining 10%. 

Three years after the acquisition of the mine, the Chiefs in the catchment area of the mine petitioned the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, and the Ministry about FGR’s inability to work to their expectations. 

According to the Chiefs, they were not included in the negotiations that led to the sale of the mine and are, therefore, of the view that the leadership of FGR had not respected them enough. 

Images: Copies of the Chief’s petition to the Minister. 

The Appeal

Workers began agitating for unpaid salaries, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), etc. The workers started discussions with relevant bodies to drive home their demands and ensure the company invested more money into the operation of the mine, but they have yet to hear back.

On Oct. 12, 2023, the company’s junior and senior staff wrote a joint memo informing the management of FGR about their decision to embark on a strike due to management’s failure to honour its obligation to an MoU signed on Sept. 11, 2023.

Image: Copy of the joint memo by workers of FGR

Despite all the warning signs from the workers and chiefs, nothing was done to ensure workers were given their due. There was still no investment by the company.

Given this, workers took to peaceful demonstrations to tell the government to bring on board new investors to avert any possible mine collapse.

After that also failed the workers, together with the community residents, took to the streets of Bogoso on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, to ask the government to take the mine from FGR and give it to an investor that can help save the mine from collapsing.  

A petition was presented to the Municipal Chief Executive of Prestea Huni-Valley Municipal, Dr Isaac Dasmani. Upon receiving the petition from the workers, he said, “The current state of the mine is affecting the assembly’s revenue generation.”

He promised he wouldn’t sit and watch the mine that provides jobs for the people collapse without him doing anything about it.  

He further noted that the petition presented to him will reach the appropriate quarters for redress. 

Image: Strike by employees and community members

The aggrieved workers of Future Global Resources (FGR) have asked the government to revoke FGR’s licence because of its inability to finance the mine. According to them, the current management is only interested in taking away the gold without putting anything into its operations.

According to a press release signed by the Public Affairs Department of the Minerals Commission dated Jan. 30, 2024, the commission is aware of the stoppage of mining operations in December 2023 due to operational challenges. 

Image: Press release from the Mineral Commission.

The press release also stated that in August 2023, the commission issued a notice to FGR on why their mining lease should be terminated because they noticed some breaches in their operations. They said the notice expired in December 2023. Still, the company refused to respond to the commission, so the minister shall be advised shortly on the next step after the notice period expires. 

The letter also stated that FGR was at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to present a verbal presentation to the ministry to put the mine under care and maintenance. Putting the mine under care and maintenance meant most workers would be laid off; thus, the workers demanded that the owed monies be paid.

 DUBAWA spoke to some workers to gain further insight into the matter.

A technical staffer at FGR said:

“The company owes everyone… They owe us almost three months’ salary now, a bonus for 2023. They deducted our monies to invest and give to us in a year, but didn’t invest the money, i.e., Provident Fund (P.F). Severance is unpaid; they haven’t paid our SSNIT for two years. They haven’t paid our Tier 1 & 2 for two years; they owe Gridco and Minerals Commission. They owe everyone and everything that has a contract with us to the extent that even those that give us food decided not to give us food again because the debts are too much now.”

To verify the truth behind some of these allegations, DUBAWA spoke to some workers of the mine, Bogoso Youth Leader Mr Elijah Essel, and the Assembly member for Dumasi Electoral Area, Hon. Cudjoe, whose electoral area the company’s school is situated. We found that the Electricity Company of Ghana and GRIDCO had disconnected them due to the debts owed.   

Furthermore, the FGR power line is connected to the community and a school (Golden Star Basic School), which has now been plunged into darkness due to the disconnection. The FGR Managers, whom the company accommodates, are also without electricity from GRIDCO and now rely on power plants for electricity. 

Edward Arhin, Chairman of the Union for Senior Staff for Underground Miners (miners who mine beneath the surface of the earth), said, “The only thing that can save the mine is for the government to take the mine from FGR and give it to another investor.”

The General Secretary for the Senior Staff Union, Mr Samuel Kumi Manu, noted that the company has failed to provide personal protective equipment for staff to work with for over two years, and they have been buying themselves. Again, he said:

“Workers must walk several kilometres carrying tools underground to work because the shuttle to convey them underground is spoiled.”

According to the information available at this time, the strike action by staffers of FGR is valid and well-placed due to the many issues uncovered above. 

Management Reaction

In a telephone conversation with the General Manager, Mr Jojo Allen, on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, he stated that the mine leadership would meet that day to solve the numerous challenges.

On Monday, Feb. 26, the mine leadership released a press statement following the meeting held on February 22nd, indicating that the mine is to be recapitalised to save it from collapsing.

 Image: Press Release by the Leadership of the Mine.

This report was produced under the DUBAWA Non-urban Journalists Mentorship project aimed at promoting a culture of truth and verification in non-urban newsrooms in Ghana with support from the US Embassy in Ghana.

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