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19.07.2005 Business & Finance

Chirano gold mines pays ¢21bn as compensation

GNA

Chirano (W/R), July 19, GNA - The Chirano Gold Mines Limited in the Western Region has paid a total of 21 billion cedis as compensation to farmers who had been affected by its operation.

The company has also resettled a total of 100 families into new houses built at the cost of 3.2 billion cedis.

Mr. Terry Smith, Mining Manager of the company announced this when Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, Okyenhene and Board Chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and officials of the Agency paid a familiarisation visit to the company at Chirano on Friday. He also visited AngloGold Ashanti Bibiani Mines and the Ghana Bauxite Company at Awaso.

He said the company which was operating within three paramountcies, namely Sefwi-Wiawso, Anhwiaso and Chirano, had also provided six communities in its catchment area with boreholes at the cost of 90,000 dollars.

On the company's contribution towards the development of education in the area, Mr Smith said a scholarship scheme had been instituted to assist brilliant but needy students in the area whilst a best teacher award package had also been instituted to reward dedicated and hard working teachers in the area.

Mr Eric Darko, Health, Safety and Environmental Superintendent of the company, said it had in stock 120,000 seedlings of various local species and vertices grass, which is used for slope segmentation. At AngloGold Ashanti Bibiani Mines, Mr Tom Richardson, General Manager told the Okyenhene that the company had instituted plans to set up a palm oil processing factory at Bibiani as a means of providing employment for the people.

Consequently, he said, the company had commenced work on the establishment of an oil palm plantation and had so far planted a total of 1,500 seedlings out of an estimated 6,000 seedlings.

Mr Richardson said the idea was to leave a legacy as a close-up assistance package to the people after the company's operations. Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin charged the companies to ensure that they restored the environment for the people after their operations and respect the integrity of the people.

He said even though Ghana can currently boast of being a major mining country, no success story that had impacted positively on the lives of the people over the years could be mentioned.

The Okyenhene said the rural people formed the bulk of the country's population and as such every effort must be made to prevent their plight from being worsened further through the destruction of the environment, which could affect generations yet to come. He therefore urged the companies to endeavour to transform the lives of the people living within their catchment areas.

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin lauded Chirano Mines for its initiative and urged the company to intensify measures put in place to mitigate the impact of its activities on the environment. He also commended AngloGold Ashanti Bibiani for its idea to leave a legacy for the people and said the EPA will co-operate with it in its environmental impact assessment programme.

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