It is no more news that Ghana is now the largest producer of gold in Africa. Records show that she has taken over from South Africa, which has maintained the position for years. This is good news, considering the number of years Ghana has trailed South Africa in the league of gold producing countries.
But, despite our new enviable record, the kind of development that has taken place in South Africa, particularly Johannesburg, is far ahead of the mining areas in Ghana. Johannesburg is one of the beautiful cities in South Africa because gold proceeds were properly utilised to develop it.
The opposite is, however, the case in Ghana, as developments in towns like Tarkwa, Prestea, Nkroful, Obuasi, amongst others, are nothing to write home about, particularly their roads.
At Nkroful and Iduapriem, where Adamus Resources and AngloGold Ashanti are carrying out mining activities, roads in the area are in a deplorable state.
This has raised questions about the commitment of these mining giants to their corporate social responsibilities.
The Board Chairman of the Minerals Commission, Sampson Kwaku Boafo, who toured the mining areas with his team, even complained about the state of the roads.
But the pathetic story of Nkroful and Iduapriem is not the only one we are grappling with. Tarkwa and Prestea, both mining towns, are also crying for development, especially when it comes to the road sector.
Recently, chiefs in Tarkwa had to defy tradition to stage a demonstration to drum home the need for the government to fix the Tarkwa Ahwitieso road, the only highway linking the area to mining sites in Tarkwa and Prestea.
Tarkwa has three giant multi-national mining companies operating in its catchment area. They are AngloGold Ashanti, Iduapriem Mine, Ghana Manganese Company, and Goldfields Ghana Limited. We agree that these mining giants pay taxes to the state, but if they had shown more concern about the environment they are operating in, we could have compared Tarkwa to Johannesburg.
The Chronicle is, however, happy that one of the mining companies, Goldfields Ghana Limited, has started re-writing the script. The mining coy, unprecedented in the history of corporate Ghana, has asphalted the 33-kilometre road from Damang through Hunni-Valley to Aboso and Tarkwa. The 33-kilometre road is estimated at $27 million, the equivalent of GH¢145 million.
The road was handed over to the host communities on Tuesday, this week, after commissioning. For us, at The Chronicle, who knew the state of the 33-kilometre road and the inconveniences it caused road users, we have no option than to congratulate the management of the company for what they have done.
The Chronicle believes by rehabilitating and asphalting the 33-kilometre road, the company has raised the bar of responsible Corporate Social Responsibility among its peers. We, therefore, agree with the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, that the construction of the 33-kilometre road, funded solely by the mining company, was icing on the cake of the company’s contribution to development in it host communities.
Our information is that the mining giant has lined up a number of developmental projects to lift up the status of its host communities. Among these are the upgrading of the Apinto Government Hospital into a modern one, upgrading of Tarkwa T &A Park into a modern sports stadium, construction of a two-storey dormitory for the Hunni-Valley Senior High School, including the tarring of Awodua town roads.
It is our hope that these projects would be executed as planned to improve upon the standard of living in the area. We entreat other corporate organisations to emulate the Goldfields example in the interest of the areas they are working.