Newmont Golden Ridge-Akyem Mine says it is confident of expanding its exploration activities beyond its main active pit in the near future to ensure operational sustainability. The mine expects to produce about 420,000 ounces of gold by year-end.
The Akyem Mine produced approximately 420,000 ounces of gold last year, currently operates a main pit and hopes to explore the adjoining east satellite pit — for which its mining lease expires in 2025.
“We hope to start mining the Akyem East Satellite Pit this year or early next year. With our main pit we have covered about 100 metres since we started. We have the intention to go almost 200 more metres because our ore-body dips from north to south,” Kwame Ntiri, Mine General Foreman, told Journalists for Business Advocacy who were on a tour of the mines to acquaint themselves with various operational activities.
The Communications and External Relations Manager of Newmont Akyem Mine, Mr. Oduro- Kwarteng Marfo, explained that the mine is currently planning to source more than US$7million of its supplies from local businesses within its operational area, and this is aimed at ensuring that the company acquires more than half of its supplies locally by 2015.
The mining firm had by the end of August this year spent about US$5.2million on local supply business chains, which mostly provide transport services, sanitation and contractors in the value chain.
He said: “About 70% of mining expenditure goes into the supply-chain area, hence the need to support growth of local businesses to increase the provision of basic materials for mining companies. We need to develop a national vision on local content in the mining industry if we want to derive full benefit from mining”.
This, he said, is to avoid the “resource curse” by giving back some of the mineral cash to the communities.
“As a responsible mining company, we want our operations to have a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. We want to engage them in the value chain so that we can stimulate other sectors of the economy.”
The suppliers of lime, grinding media, HDPE and PVC pipes, cement and cement products, tyre-retreading, general and special lubricants, explosives and caustic soda have also benefitted from the largess of mining to also create other economic actors.
The company sources about 274 of its 630 workers directly from the local communities, which constitutes 43 percent of the workforce…while 332 or 53 percent of the workers hail from other parts of the country. Expatriates constitute only four percent — 24 — the workforce.
Mr. Oduro-Kwarteng said: “An adoption of proper local content policy obviously holds the prospect of improving the image of mining companies; to deliver price and quality-competitive goods and services safely, and in a timely manner to meet the needs of the business on a lowest total cost basis, while providing transparent opportunities for local companies to secure contracts”.
Newmont intends to be the most respected mining company in Ghana in terms of optimising the value of in-country spend and development of sustainable local businesses, as the company is committed to addressing the immediate challenges of people in the area, Mr. Oduro-Kwarteng said.
He added: “We at Newmont have made a commitment to the people of New Abirem and the surrounding communities, to create an avenue for them to participate in operations of the company to help provide employment and a livelihood for them”.
The Senior Manager, Sustainability and External Relations at the Akyem Mine, Felix Apoh, disclosed that the mine has spent about GH?12.8million as community investments on developmental projects within the communities during the 2014 fiscal year.
He explained that the amount went into the provision of education, health, and road infrastructure, among others in the 10 host communities.
Mr. Apoh indicated that most of these projects are at various stages of completion, while some have been completed to ease the burden of people living in those communities.
The Executive Secretary of Newmont Akyem Development Foundation (NAkDeF), Paul Apenu, revealed the company has also undertaken major infrastructural work at the New Abirem government hospital by building a maternity ward, female ward, doctors’ bungalow, nurses’ quarters, and a theatre-block among others.
The company has again installed a 275kva generator plant at the hospital to ensure services do not stop because of the frequent power outages being experienced in the country.
On education, a new vocational school with dormitories was built to provide technical and vocational education for the area’s teeming youth. Meanwhile, several other educational facilities are being upgraded at the expense of the Newmont’s Akyem Mine.
According to Mr. Apenu, the company constructed roads linking a new resettlement site to the main New Abirem Township, while other projects including water expansion, sanitation, landfill site development, and security programmes were executed.
He added that since the commercial production of gold from the mine began in 2013, the company had helped to improve the lives of people through yearly community investment programmes.