INFORMATION available to Today indicates that Newmont Golden Ridge Limited (NGRL-Akyem Project) in the New Birim District of the Eastern Region has employed over 1,300 employees and contractors since the company started full commercial operations.
Newmont Golden Ridge-Akyem Mine, Today gathered, was poised to expand its exploration activities beyond its main active pit in the near future. And that is to ensure operational sustainability in ten (10) host communities in the region before its mining lease expires in 2025, management of the company revealed. The company has also promised to employ more workers and contractors in order to bridge the employment gap in its host communities of the region.
Newmont Ghana Akyem operation has established comprehensive social investment programmes in the areas of education, health care, infrastructure, job training and small business development. From construction in the first quarter of 2011, Akyem employed more than 4,200 people who worked a combined 16.9 million hours with a strong safety performance.
Newmont Ghana has also agreed with the mine area communities to source a significant number of Akyem’s workforce from its host communities. Newmont Ghana is committed to being a significant contributor to national development through applying high environmental practices, safety measures and social responsibility as the company strives to be the most valued and respected mining company through industry leading performance.
The mine, Today gathered, produced about 420,000 ounces of gold in 2013. It also produced approximately 420,000 ounces of the same year, and currently operates a main pit and hopes to explore the adjoining east satellite pit — for which its mining lease will expire in 2025. Today was reliably informed that the company was currently sourcing more than US$7 million of its supplies from local businesses within its operational area, and this was aimed at ensuring that the company acquires more than half of its supplies locally by 2016.
The mining firm plans to spend about US$5.2 million by August this year on local supply business chains, which mostly provide transport services, sanitation and contractors in the value chain. Today also established that 70% of Newmont’s expenditure goes into supply chain area. This development, the paper learnt, has compelled the company to support the growth of local businesses to increase the provision of basic materials for mining companies. The company, Today understands, avoids the “resource curse” by giving back some of its mineral cash to the communities. Its operations in the area have had positive impact on communities in which it operates.
It engages them in the value chain in order to stimulate other sectors of the economy. The suppliers of lime, grinding media, HDPE and PVC pipes, cement and cement products, tyre-re-treading, 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 per cent of the workforce while 332 or 53 per cent of the workers hail from other parts of the country.
Expatriates constitute only four per cent of its workforce. Today established that an adoption of a 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 aims at becoming 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 was committed to addressing the immediate challenges of people in the area.
Newmont has made a commitment to the people of New Abirem and its surrounding communities to create an avenue for them to participate in operations of the company to help provide employment and a livelihood for them. Today gathered that the mine has spent about GH¢12.8 million as community investments on developmental projects within the communities during the 2014 fiscal year. This amount went into the provision of education, health, and road infrastructure, among others in the 10 host communities.
Most of these projects, our investigations revealed, were at various stages of completion, while some have been completed to ease the burden of people living in those communities. It 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 has been built to provide technical and vocational education for the area’s teeming youth. Meanwhile, several other educational facilities were being upgraded at the expense of Newmont’s Akyem Mine. The company has 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 being executed. 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.