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25.10.2005 General News

Newmont promises support for bereaved families

By GNA
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Accra, Oct. 25, GNA - Newmont Gold Ghana Limited on Tuesday said it would support the funeral and burial arrangements of the two persons who died while crossing the Company's dam at Kenyasi in the Brong Ahafo Region earlier this month.

The Company described the incident as an absolute tragedy that should have been avoided, adding that Newmont was increasing signage and education within the communities to avoid recurrence.

It said consultations had been intensified with the immediate families and the entire communities in the area to arrive at an acceptable and workable solution for mutual coexistence. Briefing journalists in Accra on the accident and the measures taken by Company to forestall future cases, Mr Randy Barnes, External Affairs Manager for the Ahafo Project said: "As a company, we do not have all the answers to the problems without first dialoguing with them. We are, however, determined to make sure that it does not ever happen again. We are still assessing all the options."

He declined to name the exact package for the two families, but confirmed that one of the two deceased persons would be buried this week. He, however, said the Company would provide ambulances from the hospital to the two cemeteries; provide coffins and make handsome donations.

Mr Barnes said the Company was standing by for the outcome of the Police investigations and what final decision to be taken. On the issue of resettlement, Mr Barnes said it was not an immediate decision to take. Newmont, however, has in place a committee working with the stakeholders to address all the approaches and scenarios open to them for a rational decision to be taken. He said there were over 25 households and other satellite villages on the southern end of the dam at Dokyikrom, "and we would see what to do to make movement to and from the other side of town easier and more feasible".

He explained that it was the Company's position to minimize land use as much as possible, "and so we have to draw a line somewhere when the issue of land use comes up".

Dr Chris Anderson, Director, External Affairs, Africa and Europe, said access around the dam were being constantly improved with the view to ensuring that the community derived full benefit from the source. "We want to ensure that the water facility becomes a resource for the community where they can use it as a source of fish for their diet and another means of livelihood."

On the relationship with the non-governmental organizations, Mr Dave Ingle General Manager for the Ahafo Project; said the Company had cordial relationship, but was seeking further means of increasing the level of understanding between them. He admitted that expectations had risen with the advent of the mine, "but we are certain to rise up to the occasion within the limitations of the Company".

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