Sunyani, May 29, GNA – Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) has paid GH È¼ 3 billion to the government since the multi-national mining company started operation in the country in 2006, Mr Yaw Effa-Baafi, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has said.
He explained that the amount comprised royalties and taxes and commended the company for its commitment to providing additional funds for the development of communities in its operational areas.
Mr Effa-Baafi said this at the signing of the Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum (ASRF) agreement between the mining company and the 10 mine-take communities of the Ahafo project of the mine in the Asutifi North District of Brong-Ahafo Region in Sunyani.
The 53-member ASRF, made up of representatives of NGGL, Traditional Councils, the District Assembly, community groups and Non-Governmental Organisations in the 10 mine-take communities was established in 2007.
It represent the people in the mine’s catchment areas in planning and executing the company’s social responsibility programmes.
Mr Effa-Baafi said the mining industry was one of the key pillars of the national economy in addition to cocoa and that even though it was a key contributor to government revenue, many mining host communities had the view that mining companies could do more.
He said mining host communities wished to see significant development in their areas comparable to their counterparts in South Africa and other areas that mining had contributed to establishing big cities and growing economies.
The Deputy Minister said one of the ways of bringing about such development was through a social responsibility forum agreement and asked the forum to seek to promote transparency, enhance community participation and promote accountability.
Mr Effa-Baafi appealed to other mining companies to sign such arrangements with their host communities to sustain a peaceful environment for production and for community issues to be addressed through stakeholder dialogue.
He said the ministry was aware of the challenges facing mining companies as a result of the declining gold price on the world market and appealed to the companies to consider reducing costs which did not go into actual production instead of retrenching more of the local employees.
Mr Joep Coenen, the Ahafo Mine’s General Manager, said the agreement had yielded great mutual dividends for the communities and the mining company.
The agreement, he explained, covered employment, foundation and relationship adding that through the employment, the Ahafo mine employed 35 percent of its total workforce and that of its contractors from the local community in Ahafo.
Mr Coenen said the company’s flagship social responsibility foundation, Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF), had been the main driver of its social responsibility obligations to the Ahafo communities.
He said with a contribution of one dollar per each ounce of gold sold and one percent of its net profit, the Ahafo mine has put 17.5 million dollars into the foundation and this had been used to produce 67 projects.
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