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25.01.2008 Regional News

Newmont Gold tackles poverty in Ahafo

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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Stakeholders in the mining sector have been advised to contribute to the drafting of the regulations to the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703 of 2006, which the Minerals Commission is currently preparing, to ensure that it reflects the aspirations of both government and operators in the mining industry.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, Rita Tani Iddi, said this during her first familiarization and technical visit to the Ahafo Mines of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL).

The visit to the site was to acquaint her with the operations of the mines, and to inspect the environment and social responsibility initiatives, put together by Newmont for the Ahafo community.

Madam Tani Iddi said government considered operators in the mining industry as partners, and that it was imperative that stakeholders in the sector, such as NGGL contributed to the preparation of the draft regulations to the Mining and Minerals Act.

She commended Newmont for its strict adherence to the health and safety of its workers and surrounding communities, adding that it was imperative that Newmont maintains such leading industry practices and constantly improves them, where necessary, to meet the changing demands of the mining sector.

Mr. Botchwey, of the Mines Inspectorate Division, commenting on the effects of blasting, noted that NGGL blasting records were within standards and that it would not have any negative impact on structures outside the buffer zones.

This was in response to comments by the Deputy Minister, about complaints received by her Ministry, regarding the effects of blasting on structures in the communities.

The External Affairs Manager of NGGL, Randy Barnes led Madam Tani Iddi to visit some of the social responsibility initiatives of Newmont.

These included the Agricultural Improvement and Land Access Programme (AILAP), which is meant to support people to improve on agricultural productivity in the communities.

The tour also took the Deputy Minister to the two resettlement sites, at Ntotroso and Kenyasi, where she interacted with some beneficiaries of livelihood programmes implemented by NGGL.

The beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to Newmont for efforts at working with them to improve their lives.

They appealed to the visiting Deputy Minister to use her good office to complement the efforts of Newmont, for greater successes.

Mr. Barnes took the Deputy Minister through some of the company's intervention programmes, which were meant to economically empower people living in the company's concessionary area.

They are the Ahafo Agribusiness Growth Initiative (AAGI), Livelihood Enhancement and Community Empowerment Programme (LEEP) and the Agricultural Improvement and Land Access Programme (AILAP).

According to Mr. Barnes, the objective of AILAP was, among others, to provide agricultural assistance to farmers, who have been affected by the mining activities of the company.

He said approximately 2,500 farmers have so far benefited from the programme, while 57 farmers, groups and contractors have been trained and contracted by Newmont to produce planting materials, for sale to the AILAP.

Through the AAGI, the External Affairs Manager said 2,204 individuals had been trained in market-driven agricultural ventures, adding that in collaboration with the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) a processing plant would be installed in the area, to process chili pepper for export and for local consumption.

The Deputy Minister, who was accompanied by officials of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minerals Commission, also toured some of Newmont's mining facilities, including the Subika Pit, the Tailings Storage Facility, Water Storage Facility and the Processing Plant.

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