Newmont Ghana reiterated its commitment to ongoing, good-faith dialogue with youth near the Ahafo mine to address their concerns regarding employment opportunities at the operation.
The Kenyasi No. 2 Youth Association conducted a demonstration to express their concerns about youth unemployment, community investment opportunities, and environmental management.
In response, Bernard Wessels, General Manager of Newmont Ghana’s Ahafo mine, addressed the concerns raised by reiterating the company’s commitment to serve as a catalyst for local economic development and as a responsible steward of the environment.
“We will continue engaging the youth groups and others in nearby communities regarding our hiring policies and current and future employment needs through transparent and respectful stakeholder engagement,” said Mr. Wessels.
Work hasn’t been significantly affected though we have currently halted mining operations for safety reasons so we do not put people in harm’s way. However, we are continuing with plant operations.
In line with Newmont Ghana’s commitment to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the public enforcement agencies deployed to guide the demonstrators and protect the company’s workforce and assets have been informed about respecting and protecting the human rights of the demonstrators and operating within the rules of engagement in enforcing public order. Additionally, the Asutifi North District Police Commander has briefed representatives of the Ahafo Mine and the demonstrating youth on the public peace and asset protection approach and respecting the Public Order Act requirements.
Since the commencement of active mining, the Ahafo mine has generated significant economic stimulus, social and institutional development and infrastructure investment.
Out of a workforce of 2,538, about 40 percent are from Ahafo Mine’s 10 host communities. The Apprenticeship programme that was instituted to provide employable skills in mining related disciplines to local community youth has trained 130 persons out of which 96 have been employed by Newmont and its business partners.
Following the approval of two expansion projects – the Subika Underground Project and Ahafo Mill Expansion – further employment opportunities have been offered to community youth. Africa Underground Mining Services, the Ahafo mine’s business partner in the Subika Underground Project, has so far recruited 230 Ghanaian nationals out of which 101 (48 percent) are locals from the mine’s host communities.
Also, the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF), which is the main driver for social investment programmes in the host communities, has accrued GHC 57.1 million while executing more than 100 projects and disbursing 8,000 community scholarship.
As a responsible corporate citizen, we work closely with regulatory bodies as well as external agencies to regularly audit our environmental management systems to ensure compliance with laid down regulations.
“We appreciate our community youth’s desire for more opportunities. We will continue to explore ways of further stimulating sustainable development in our host communities as we seek to create more value through safe and responsible mining,” Mr. Wessels concluded.
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