Anglo Gold Ashanti now closer to the community than ever
From Albert Nana Asante
Currently, the company has bought into the development plans of the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, and is rehabilitating and fencing a number of public basic schools.
Recently, a ceremony was held, at which a massively rehabilitated airstrip into a modern “Obuasi Airport was inaugurated. This project, to which the AGA committed a total of US$4 million, would eventually, be placed at the disposal of the Obuasi community to facilitate socio-economic activities in the area.
Aside, the company has tasked itself to finance the improvement of the Mawuli Junction-Anyinam road, to make it easy for motorists to use.
Then came the launching of an Obuasi Community Trust Fund, in which, as at the end of last year, the company had pumped a whopping amount of GH 5.4 million into. The Fund, meant for community development initiatives, would be managed by a seven-member board, and 32-member Steering Committee.
The side attraction of the launch was the presentation of eight 15-seater Toyota mini-buses and 110 desktop computers by the company to eight public Senior High Schools (SHS), and 22 public Junior High Schools (JSH) within its operational area.
Launching the Fund, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, in a speech read for him by his deputy, stressed the need for the Fund to endeavour “to address the felt needs of people.”
“Therefore, there is the need for the managers of the Fund to engage Nananom, assembly members, and other players in healthy interaction when deciding the priority needs of the communities,” he said.
Dr. Agyemang-Mensah, however, observed that the company cannot sustain the growth of the Fund, if activities of the community members negatively affect the operations of the mine.
The Regional Minister, therefore, warned: “It is important that as the company strives to ensure sustainable development, we in the communities, must also desist from all forms of activities which are likely to affect operations of AGA, so as to enable it have the peaceful atmosphere to operate.”
He further advised all artisanal miners to stay off the mining area of the company to ensure uninterrupted operations, which was the only way to raise enough funds to execute its programmes.
Mr. Fredrick AttaKumah, Vice President, Sustainability of AGA, noted that the company would continue to create opportunities to make a positive difference in the host communities and the nation.
He explained that under the Stability Agreement with the government, the company was mandated to establish Community Trust Funds into which one percent of its annual post-tax-profit would be deposited, and used for the social and economic development of the communities.
The Vice President stressed: “The key objectives of the Trust Fund are community development and economic development. These objectives would be achieved through active engagement and community driven processeses.”
Mr. Atta Kumah added that investment programmes to be initiated by the Fund would benefit communities within the company’s mineral concessions, stressing: “In effect, Trust Fund Investments cannot be made outside the concession areas.”
In his address, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Ben Aryee, observed that the importance of the mining industry to the development of Ghana cannot be over emphasised.
He, however, expressed worry about the activities of illegal miners, and appealed to Ghanaians, especially, those who had been condoning illegal mining, to put a stop to the act.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission encouraged the Fund managers to truly engage all stakeholders in the choice of projects and investments to be funded.
Okofo Sobin Kan II, acting President of the Adansi Tradional Council, who chaired the function, said AGA had been a key supporter of the development of the local economy of the area.
With the above interventions by the company towards the development of its catchment area, especially, Obuasi, vis a vis the Integrated Malaria Control Programme developed by AngloGold Ashanti, and implemented at Obuasi in Ghana, and its associated country, which is proving successful in the fight against malaria, the most significant public health threat to AngloGold’s operations in West Africa, it was not surprising when Master KwakyeAbabio of Binsere, a farming community in Obuasi, retorted at the launch of the Community Trust Fund: “Afie na yehunu AGA so mfasoopaa,” to wit, “the communities are now feeling the impact of AGA in Obuasi.”
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