Newmont Ghana Gold has assured that its Ahafo mines will be working to explore viable economic opportunities in the coming years to generate more employment for the community members.
“Over the next couple of years, we will be working with consultants and other social investors to explore viable economic opportunities that will generate more employment for community members”, Vice President, Sustainability and External Relations of Newmont Ghana Gold, Ms. Adiki O. Ayitivie said this at the signing of the reviewed Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum Agreements at Ntotroso in the Ahafo region.
Ms. Ayitivie said Newmont is working towards improving its previous commitment of 35% local-local employment to 53% by next Agreement revision.
“Through our Employment Agreement, we are working towards improving our previous commitment of 35% local-local employment by Newmont and its contractors to 40% and progressively improving to 53% by the next Agreement revision”, she said.
According to Ms Ayitivie, while this is a significant step to increase the number of local-local employees in the mines, there is still the need to look at alternative employment opportunities as direct opportunities at Newmont are finite and cannot meet all demands.
She added that after 13 years of implementation and achievement of significant outcomes, “It is time to build a new Ahafo that reflects the twentieth century and provides more hope for young people within our host communities”.
This, Ms Ayitivie said, requires urgency in acting differently to tackle rising unemployment challenges and enhance infrastructure in host communities.
“There is an urgent need to do things differently to address the increasing unemployment challenges and stakeholder desire for modern infrastructure in our towns and villages”, she said.
Ms Ayitivie therefore urged members of the Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum to join hands so that together, they can make the Ahafo aspirations a reality.
The General Manager, Newmont Ghana, Okyere Ntrama, said under the Employment Agreement, the Ahafo mine currently employs about 42% of its total workforce and that of its contractors from the local communities in Ahafo.
Additionally, he said, about 167 locals have benefited from Newmont’s apprenticeship training programme which trains locals in Ahafo to acquire employable skills so that they can take advantage of employment opportunities in mine maintenance, electrical and instrumentation either at Newmont or any other place where there may be employment opportunities.
Mr Ntrama said Newmont’s Social Responsibility Foundation, NADeF, which was born out of the Foundation Agreement, has been the main driver of its social responsibility obligations to the Ahafo communities.“With a contribution of US$1per each ounce of gold sold and 1percent of its net profit, the Ahafo mine has provided funding to the tune of US$34.1 (GHc106.6m) out of which we have completed and handed over about 127 infrastructural projects to the communities”, he said.
Mr Ntrama noted that within the last thirteen years of its existence, NADeF has established itself as a model community development foundation in Ghana. He added that the joint decision to arrive at Agreements has proven most beneficial to the development of the people and communities in Ahafo.Mr Ntrama stressed that stakeholders have achieved so much through the Agreements and there was no doubt that the future can be brighter.
“We have achieved so much through these Agreements and I have no doubt that the future can only be brighter. I believe that the hard work and commitment with which our forum members have reviewed these agreements is testament of our dedication as stakeholders to cooperate with our collective quest to improve the living conditions of our people”, he said.
Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum
The Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum Agreement was first signed in 2008 through the work of the Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum.
It covers three thematic areas–Employment, which spells out guidelines for employing locals within the host communities, Foundation, which sets out the terms and conditions under which Newmont Ghana (Ahafo Mine) shall fund the operations of Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADEF) and Relationship, which sets out the understanding reached between the company and the community to advance the sustainable and economic development of the communities.