The Newmont Akyem Development Foundation (NAkDeF) has cut the sod for construction of a 6-unit classroom block for the Old Abriem community in the Birim North district of the Eastern Region, at the of cost of GH?319,000.
The project is expected to be completed within 6 months, beginning from January 2016 to June 2016, and includes a staff common-room, storeroom and office. It forms part of the Foundation’s operations aimed at bringing development to host communities of the Newmont mine.
It also marks the formal start of the NAkDeF community infrastructure projects since inauguration of the Foundation a year ago. In addition to this project, 14 others are being undertaken in the other communities -- most of which are scheduled to be carried out within a 6-month project duration.
These projects include the construction of another six-unit classroom block, a two-unit kindergarten block, market shed, community clinic, bore-holes, a 10-seat vault chamber, and car park among a host of other projects contracted to ‘local local’ contractors.
Some of the beneficiary communities include Mamaso, New Abriem, Afosu, Hweakwae, Adausena and Ntronang.
Chief of Adausena, Nana Dr. Bonin Abankro II, speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the project observed that “Education is the fabric of every community”, and emphasised firmly that Newmont remains a key stakeholder in providing quality education to the mine communities.
He reckoned that quality education is controlled by four variables: good infrastructure, quality teachers, effective and efficient learning materials, and the characterising mental condition.
He said while government alone cannot provide all the needed infrastructure for education in the country, communities should support the efforts of organisations such as Newmont to contribute to the sector’s growth.
General Manager, Newmont Akyem Mine, Kevin Moxham, said formation of the Akyem Social Responsibility Forum that birthed NAkDeFF provided the ground for all stakeholders to work together in creating value and improving lives through sustainable and responsible mining.
He said with the start of the project, which had been made successful through the Sustainable Development Committees, he appealed that all the stakeholders should keep an eye on the quality of the project to be delivered.
He was optimistic that all the stakeholders will work together to continue maintaining a solid, open and honest dialogue and relationship, sustained for mutual benefit of the communities and Akyem Mine.
He assured that “the management of Newmont is committed to seeing improvements and benefits being realised by our communities”.
District Chief Executive of the Birim North district, Hon. Paul A. Dadzie, said the communities, the Assembly, Newmont and the NAkDeF should remain partners committed to bringing needed development to the district’s people.
NAkDeF serves as the social responsibility vehicle for Newmont Golden Ridge Limited, and was commenced in 2014 with a mandate to establish and manage sustainable social investment projects and activities.
The Foundation has since its inception successfully implemented a community scholarship programme for secondary, vocational, technical and tertiary students of the Akyem Mine communities.
The NAkDeF scholarship programme, supports brilliant but needy students within the Akyem Mine community. To date, 938 students have benefitted from the scholarship programme at a total cost of about GH?1.2million. The number of beneficiaries is however expected to go beyond 1,000 by close of December, 2015.
It was also made known that plans are underway to begin an ‘Apprenticeship Programme’ to equip community members with alternative livelihood skills for their economic empowerment.