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27.08.2004 Regional News

Take advantage of training - Senior Minister urges youth

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Ntotoroso (B/A), Aug 27, GNA - Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister has urged the youth to take advantage of the training opportunities being offered by the government to meet the demands of the sophisticated employment market.

He was speaking at the sod cutting for the second phase of the civil works at the Ahafo Project site of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited at Ntotoroso, in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The phase comprises the construction of the mining plant and other facilities needed for the full operations of the mines next year. Referring to an earlier agitations by the people in the area for employment with the company, Mr Mensah said their operations required "mental brawn and not physical brawn".

He advised the youth to acquire skills to fit the employment requirements of the company.

The Senior Minister, however, thanked the people especially the youth for the change of attitude towards the project, noting, "the suspicion, hostility and skirmishes are now things of the past". Mr Mensah pointed out that the most important duty of the government was to keep law and order and expressed the hope that the people would maintain the prevailing cordial relations with the company for the benefit of the region and the nation.

He commended the American company for committing an investment of 450 million dollars in the country within the next four years and urged the people to co-operate with it for the socio-economic development of the area and the country.

Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines, noted that the ceremony was the culmination of many years of exploration and stressed the government's determination to ensure that the country's natural resources were exploited in a responsible manner.

She expressed the hope that the relationship between the government, the people and the company would continue to flourish for their mutual benefit.

The minister gave the assurance that the government would continue to support the company's operations.

Mr Wayne Murdy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Newmont Mining Corporation, promised that would be transparency in the company's dealings with the government and the people.

He noted, "We had a few initial bumps but we need to congratulate the youth for their resolve for dialogue, since it is going to be a long journey in our operations in Ghana".

Mr Murdy said the company would do its best to ensure that the environment was safe during the company's operations, saying, "it is a big industrial project, we shall go through two years of construction and many decades of operations".

He stressed the need for the company and the people to take "a joint responsibility to take advantage of the opportunity".

The US Ambassador in Ghana, Ms Carlin Yates, expressed the hope that the operations of the company would help to further cement the bond of friendship and economic ties between Ghana and the United States. "This is the sort of investment and relationship that the US government cherishes," she said.

Barima Twereko Ampem III, Chief of Ntotoroso, pledged the people's support for the company's operations and called for the completion of the Acherensua-Sunyani road.

He noted that even though the company had been in the area for only six months, it had initiated a lot of development projects and appealed for the full payment of compensation to people affected by the operations of the company.

Representatives of the youth at the company's Kenyase and Yamfo sites commended the government for assisting the company, whose operations had created job opportunities.

Present were Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister and Ms Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive of Ghana Chamber of Mines.

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