Newmont Golden Ridge Limited Akyem Project, in line with its promise to pay one dollar on each ounce of gold mined to the operational communities, has since November last year, saved 81,000 dollars from production and paid into the Newmont Akyem Development Foundation (NAKDEF).
The NAKDEF, is a newly-instituted Foundation set up by Newmont Akyem Project, to channel the funds to be accrued from the one-dollar per-ounce commitment, for the development of its operational communities, to ensure equity and peaceful co-existence.
According to Mr Oduro Kwarteng-Marfo, the External Relations Manager of Newmont, this year the Akyem project has estimated to mine about 450,000 ounces of gold, and that automatically would accrue 450,000 dollars to the NAKDEF.
He gave the assurance that Newmont would not relent on its promises to develop its operational areas.
He explained that though the NAKDEF agreement is yet to be signed between Newmont and the beneficiary communities, Newmont has already started paying the one dollar per ounce to the Fund, indicating its commitment to the people.
Mr Kwarteng-Marfo, at a media briefing in Koforidua, said the Fund is expected to be used by the communities to address their needs, such as scholarship and bursaries to promote education and other educational needs.
On employment opportunities, he disclosed that, out of the 767 workers at the Akyem mines, 326 representing 43 percent are from the host communities, 32 expatriates and the remaining 467 are coming from different parts of the country.
He said an additional 49 percent of the workforce from the operational communities work with contractors that are working on Newmont’s projects.
He explained that the employment agreement with the communities stipulated that, within five years of mining, the company in Akyem should employ 35 percent of its workforce from the operational communities.
This, he said, meant that Newmont with 45 percent workforce from the host communities within six months of mining was far ahead of the agreement.
Under the agreement, a seven-member committee was instituted in all the operational communities, and they validate citizens of the area who applied for job at Newmont to ensure that real community members benefit from that facility.
Again, he said, Newmont Akyem had instituted a four-year apprenticeship programme to train and build capacities of citizens in the operational areas, to enable them meet the company’s employment criteria.
So far, 213 youth had benefited with some already completed and fully employed by Newmont Akyem, while the rest are still under-going the training programme.
On the redundancy programe announced by the company which would affect between 500-600 staff from all the Newmont installations including Akyem, Ahafo and Accra office, the communications manager noted that it had not been rolled out yet.
Mr Oduro-Kwarteng, reiterated that Newmont believed in good-faith dialogue to engage its stakeholders, and not threats and demonstrations, citing a recent demonstration that halted operational activities at the mines for two days.