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16.11.2005 Regional News

DCE appeals to Newmont to assist farmers

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Kenyasi (B/A), Nov. 16, GNA - Mr Opoku Peprah, District Chief Executive for Asutifi District in Brong Ahafo on Wednesday appealed to Newmont Ghana Gold Limited to help farmers in the area to increase food production.

He said the company could assist the farmers with modern agricultural implements to enhance productivity. Mr Peprah made the appeal when Mr Wayne Murdy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Newmont Gold Mining Corporation paid a courtesy call on him at Kenyasi.

He also asked the company to iron out all differences relating to the use of land and the payment of compensation packages to farmers displaced by its mining operations.

The DCE said the Assembly was collaborating with both local and international financial institutions to access credits for the district's farmers to enable them to venture into ginger and cashew cultivation to reduce the level of unemployment in the district. "Unemployment has become a burden to the Assembly and the traditional authorities and things ought to change", he stated. Mr Peprah revealed that procedures for accessing credits from the banks had been finalized and the authorities were waiting for a confirmation from the company before the loans would be disbursed to the farmers.

Mr Peprah appealed to the company to reactivate its social responsibility agenda to abate criticisms and agitations from the community.

He assured the Newmont team that the district would fully support the activities of the company, as far as it strictly adhered to mining and environmental conservation rules.

The DCE called for an amicable resolution of the case, in which two men lost their lives recently at the operation site, saying, the incident should not be allowed to strain the relationship between the community and the company.

"It will be irrational to put blame at the door step of Newmont for the demise of the young men," he added. On his part Mr Murdy said the visit was part of an annual duty tour to countries "with Newmont footprints" to acquaint himself with the company's activities at the Kenyasi Pit.

Newmont is bracing itself to pour the first gold by the third and fourth quarter of next year.

Mr Dave Ingle, General Manager, Newmont Kenyasi Project, thanked the DCE for the support accorded the organization and stated that Newmont would organise training programmes for prospective employees in its operational areas.

He said since agriculture was one of the company's flagship development approaches, it would work hand in hand with the external affairs department of the Assembly to find how agriculture could be revamped in the district, as a way of ensuring total community development.

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