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13.02.2009 Regional News

Birim North Youth groups pledge support for Newmont Akyem Project


Youth groups in the Birim North District have pledged their support for the Newmont Akyem Project as a result of the company's excellent commitment to its social responsibility and appealed to government agencies to support the company.

The group included the Stool Lands Owners Association, Executive Committee of the Umbrella Council of Youth Association in Akyem, Birim North Chapter of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Community Consultative Committee (CCC), chiefs, queens, local opinion leaders and district assembly members.

In a statement issued at new Abirem and signed on behalf of the group by Mr Samuel Arko-Mensah, Vice Chairman of GNCCI, they registered their distaste and disagreement with the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), on its latest stunt to stop the Newmont Akyem Project.

The statement appealed to the government to ignore the agitation of WACAM and its sponsors and rather support the project, especially in the area of energy.

The statement said the group was convinced that the expected positive benefits of the project far outweigh the damage.

“This conviction is based on three things firstly, on what Newmont has already done at Ahafo, secondly on what we have learnt through our engagements with the company and thirdly the expert advice and technical information shared with local people at the three Ghana Environmental Public Assessment (EPA) public hearings”.

The statement said at the final EPA public hearing held in July last year at Yayaaso, the people of Akyem expressed their support for the project after engaging the company on both the negative and positive impact of the proposed project.

The statement said it was apparent that the project would assure the rapid development of Akyem in five to seven years after the project had started adding that it envisaged a Municipality encompassing all the nine mine communities.

“Even as we wait for the project to start, specific developments results have been achieved including the formation of a functional Chapter of the Chamber of Commerce, the first in the Eastern Region, an Umbrella Council of Youth Associations, and an Apprenticeship Skills training programme for the youth,“ it said.