Accra, July 5, GNA - Gold Fields Ghana Limited on Tuesday paid a 2.5 million-dollar (23 billion cedis) dividend to Government for the 2004-2005 period, being the highest dividend from a company in the sector.
The amount is the fourth since 2001 and the third in nine months, fixing total dividend payments at nine million dollars, approximately 81 billion cedis. It represents Government's 10 per cent shares in the Company.
Gold Fields Ghana paid one million dollars annually as dividend from 2001 till 2003.
Making the presentation, Mr Mike Ezan, Executive Director of Gold Fields Ghana, said the Company made a profit of 25 million dollars in the period under review with gold production at 676,810 ounces, a sharp increase over the previous figure of 550,002 ounces. He noted that six months after the commissioning of the CIL plant and transition into the Owner Mining System, "there have been demonstrable improvements in the efficiency and productivity of the Tarkwa Mine".
He said the Company had over the last two years spent more than 35 billion cedis between its two mines at Tarkwa and Damang in social responsibility and livelihood enhancement projects in and around its primary stakeholder communities.
These include the construction of roads, clinics, about 50 boreholes and small-scale animal husbandry. This year the Company plans to spend nine billion cedis in this direction. Gold Fields Ghana has paid a total of 11.6 million dollars this year to Government for royalties compared with the 9.6 million dollars last year.
Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, received the cheque and said it was a demonstration of the capacity of the mining industry, which could not be lost on even sceptics and those crusading against the sector.
He said the industry currently employed 16,000 people directly aside the ancillary jobs created by the operations of the mines. About 40 per cent of Ghana's foreign exchange earnings come from mining operations.
The sector also provides 11 per cent of Government revenue in the form of taxes, royalties and dividends.
Mining companies have invested four billion dollars in the economy since 1986.