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11.11.2003 Business & Finance

We want to extend the life of the mines

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Accra, Nov. 11, GNA - Gold Fields Ghana Limited on Tuesday said it was aiming at increasing the life of its Tarkwa Mine and increase the employment potential within the communities it operated.

Briefing Journalists in Accra for the first time since he took office as Managing Director, Mr Brenden Walker said Gold Fields had decided to invest 160 million dollars into its operations in Ghana, especially the Tarkwa Mine as part of an overall Tarkwa Plant Expansion and Owner Mining Programme.

This it would do by introducing new equipment and mining technology at the Tarkwa and Damang Mines.

Mr Walker, who until recently was the General Managing in charge of Operations of Gold Fields International, the parent company, said an increased investment in the Company's operations holds the potential for increased contribution to the Ghanaian economy through royalties and taxes.

Mr Walker said Gold Fields was poised to ensure a sustainable development of gold mining through responsible mining, saying, "for this the Company recently signed a six million dollars Cooperation Bond with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and I wish to state here that we are very committed to keeping a congenial atmosphere in all our operations worldwide".

He said all Gold Fields Operations were fully compliant with national environmental regulations and adopts international best practices in all its activities.

"All Gold Fields Ghana operations are ISO 14001 certified", Mr Walker said. ISO 14001 is the leading environmental management system in the world.

On the company's partnership with its local communities, Mr Walker said 20 billion cedis have been spent between the Tarkwa and Damang Mines to assist them during 2000 to 2003.

He said there had been community improvements in the form of health, education, roads and sanitation facilities being provided at New Atuabo, Damang and Kekyewere while building, maintenance and educational support facilities had also been put in the other communities in their areas of operation.

Mr Walker said 258.5 million dollars was paid last year to IRS as its total contribution compared to the 228.0 million dollars paid out the previous year.

Royalties paid in 2002 was 7.3 million dollars as compared to a slightly lower 6.2 million dollars posted in 2001

He said the Company faced a daunting task in the area of power supply saying the recent tariff increases had hit it hard and would most probably have a negative effect on it.

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