25.05.2005 Business & Finance

Mining builds houses for communities

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Ntotroso (B/A), May 25, GNA - Newmont Ghana Gold Limited has so far compensated 2,770 farmers displaced by its operations at the Ahafo Project to the tune of 12,000,000 US dollars.

Mr Dave Ingle, the General Manager, said crop compensation was nearing completion and the greatest challenge confronting the process was speculative developments in the Mine Take area.

"Some local farmers and area residents continue to attempt to gain compensation for buildings and farms constructed and developed on the land over which a moratorium was declared in February 2004", he noted. The General Manager was briefing Prof Dominic Fobih, the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines and Mrs. Theresa Amerley Tagoe, the Deputy Minister, on the operations of the company at its Ahafo Project. The ministers, who were accompanied by Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, were on a two-day tour of the region.

On the resettlement of the displaced people, Mr Inge said 409 houses are to be built for them and that moving into the resettlement villages began in mid-March for the Ntotroso Resettlement Village. He said so far 46 households had resettled in their new homes, while 10 others are expected to move into their properties soon. Work is progressing steadily at the Ntotroso and Kenyase resettlement sites. A total of 28 and 170 houses are under construction at the two sites respectively and people could move into their new homes at the Kenyase site by next month.

The tour took the ministers to the company's multi-purpose training centre at Yamfo where employees and people in the mining communities would have training as part of the company's resolve to build their capacities.

Mr Ingle said as at the end of April last year, more than 13,000 people had registered and based on the quotas allocated to various communities, 519 unskilled people had been given orientation at the centre and employed.

He said in addition to this 58 others who were either skilled or semi-skilled had had employment with contractors working at the company's Ahafo project.

At Ntotroso the ministers met some of the people undergoing training in mushroom cropping, grasscutter and snail rearing as part of a programme by the company to ensure that they used compensations paid to them judiciously by engaging in viable economic ventures. Prof Fobih commended Newmont for living up to its vision in terms of its social responsibility agenda, saying the community's interest was paramount "since the government wants to set a better community facilitation and development in the mining communities". He said the ministry would insist that all mining companies would send annual reports on their social responsibility to the ministry through the Minerals Commission.

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