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11.06.2007 Business & Finance

80MW power plant ready in July

By D. Guide

The 80 Megawatt power plants in Tema installed by the major mining companies in the country in collaboration with the Volta River Authority (VRA), is expected to be commissioned next month

The companies included Goldfields Ghana Limited, Anglogold Ashanti, Gold Star and Newmont Ghana Gold Limited.

Electricity generated by this plant would be channeled through the national grid.

The regional vice president of Newmont, Gordon Nixon, who disclosed this to journalists in Accra, said his outfit had so far spent $3 million on energy ever since the load-shedding exercise began.

He said Newmont was currently re-evaluating the Akyem mines project in the Eastern Region, adding that the company would submit a draft document on the re-evaluation process to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008 to secure official permit.

Mr Nixon assured stakeholders that the company's activities at Akyem mines project would be conducted in accordance with the highest environmental standards.

Currently, the gold giant was using state-of-the-art methods to reclaim the land at the Ahafo project. This involved the use of a hydro seeder to plant seeds even on the steepest slopes.

The hydro seeder is an automatic machine that allows the operation to spray seeds and fertilizer into steep slopes.

“Newmont is clearly interested in the livelihood of the people more than just extracting gold from the ground. Ultimately, our goal in Ghana is to leave a legacy of increased prosperity even after the mines eventually close,” Mr Nixon stated.

He noted that the local people at Akyem would be hired to work during the re-evaluation process when the need arose.

In February 2002, Newmont Mining Corporation, the parent company of Newmont Ghana, acquired Normandy Mining and thereby obtained two concessions in the Ahafo area in the Brong Ahafo Region and Akyem in the Eastern Region.

The two areas, prior to Newmont's entry, had never seen large-scale industrial gold production operations.

The two projects were the company's first venture on the African continent and they involve a total capital investment of $1 billion.

The mining company had, through successful exploration, increased the combined reserves in these projects from about four million ounces at the time of acquisition to 20 million ounces of gold currently.

When the Akyem project becomes operational, both projects are expected to produce a combined one million ounces of gold annually.