From Alfred Adams .
For the 25 years Goldfields Ghana Limited (GGL) has operated in Tarkwa, its host communities particularly have benefitted tremendously from the corporate social responsibilities of the mining company.
Physical structures such as school buildings, health and community centers, teachers’ and doctors’ quarters, roads, ICT centers amongst others are some of the benefits the host communities continue to receive from the mining company.
Considering the strong relationship the mining company has established with its host communities, it held a stakeholders’ meeting to mark 25 years of operating in Ghana.
The meeting was attended by chiefs, opinion leaders, assembly members, pupils, students and teachers, including the Municipal Chief Executives for the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly and the Prestea Hunni-Valley Municipal Assembly, Gilbert Kenneth Asmah and Mozart Owoo respectively.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem, George Mireku Duker, was the Special Guest of Honour.
The Executive Vice President of GGL, Mr. Alfred Baku, touching on the relationship with its stakeholders, said: “We may not have always agreed, but for 25 years we have learnt to strengthen our relationship and have built a formidable Goldfields’ brand that delivers value to employees, communities and the government.”
He said the company could not claim full credit for the milestone, adding, “From the early resettlement days through the construction of pits and dams, and the heap leach to our current operations, you have been there. You have stood with us through our ups and downs, and that is why you will remain at the front and center of our anniversary celebration.”
The Executive Vice President paid glowing tribute to Nna Angu II, Divisional Chief of Apinto, describing him as an unshakable and loyal tower of strength for the 25 years of GGL’s journey. Continuing, he said, considering the fact that the mining company has grown, it has also been very aware of the responsibility it bears as a mining company – responsibility to the environment, employees, and its host communities.
It is as a result of this that it established the Goldfields Ghana Foundation in 2004 to serve as the major vehicle for funding for development in its host communities.
He said, with funding tied to the company’s gold production and profitability, the Foundation has succeeded in making significant and measurable impact in the health provision, education, infrastructure, water, sanitation, agriculture and agribusiness.
Going forward, the company has taken it upon itself, as part of the 25 years anniversary, to rehabilitate the 33 kilometres Tarkwa Damang road at a total cost of $21 million and expected the road to be completed by December.
That apart, GGL has committed itself to two flagship programmes, which it would undertake over the next few years.
They are the rehabilitation of the Tarkwa T&A Park into a modern sports facility, and the second, the extensive rehabilitation of the Tarkwa Apinto Government Hospital.
Mr. Baku said the company intends turning the hospital into a first-class medical facility, and a model for quality healthcare delivery in the region and the country.
He added: “We have great plans for the growth of Goldfields, and even greater plans for the development of our communities. When we finally close our mine and leave, we want our legacy to be lasting and positive.”
On his part, the Member of Parliament for Tarkwa Nsuaem congratulated the mining company for showing leadership, in an industry from which much was expected, but often misunderstood. “For many those of us from mining communities, and I am sure you will agree with me, we have seen many companies come and go. Therefore, your being around for a quarter of a century is a mean achievement, and I believe Goldfields deserves a round of applause.”
George Mireku Duker pointed that considering the fact that mining has been part of the activities that define the Ghanaian people and their cultural heritage, the country has, however, come to a point where it needs to seriously ask whether our natural resources, particularly gold, were impacting the people and communities positively.
“I can say without a shadow of doubt that Goldfields has been a golden example of how mining can be done sustainably, and in a way that provides meaningful value to government and communities alike.”