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Great Consolidated Diamonds Bring Hope To Akwatia   
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Akwatia went gay on Tuesday as Great Consolidated Diamonds Company Ghana Ltd (GCDGL) new owners of the Akwatia diamond fields launched their operations with a promise of employing 50.000 people in the long term.

Delivering the inaugural speech, Vice President, John Dramani Mahama announced that two privatecompanies had been mandated by government to build state of the art gold refineries in the country, while the state-owned Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) expanded its diamond polishing facility.

This he said was in line with government’s policy of ensuring that the country added value to minerals extracted in the country for higher returns on the world market.

Mahama explained that the decision to divest the state diamond company to allow for private sector participation in diamond production was in recognition of Government’s policy of making the private sector the engine of growth to catalyze the development of other sectors of the economy.

Official statistics disclosed that GCD had produced over 2.5 million carats of diamond annually between the 1960s and the 1980s. This production however dropped to 157,000 carats in 2003. This production further dwindled to as low as 79,000 carats in 2007. The decrease in production was attributed to the lack of capital injection leading further to deterioration in mine infrastructure.

“This therefore did not only aggravate the debt accumulation situation of the then GCD, but also led to the suspension of the company’s operation in 2007,” he recounted. It became obvious that no mine could survive with the conditions in which GCD Ltd found itself, and so a new owner should be found to invest into the operations, added the vice president.

He described the current divestiture, as unique, since the new owner was a wholly Ghanaian-owned company. “We must trust in our own indigenous entrepreneurs. GCDGL is therefore a trailblazer and important experiment. Its success would imbue trust of the ‘doubting ‘Thomases’ that what the foreign investor can do, the Ghanaian investor can also do,” he urged. Mahama also promised that government would, at the same time continue exploration activities to unearth other deposits that were in the country.

He was convinced that the new company would exploit the mineral resources for the improvement of the economy and for the transformation of Akwatia into an industrial hub of the Eastern Region. Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Henry Ford Kamel noted that the dwindling fortunes of the GCD represented dashed hopes and painful memories of the locals in Akwatia.

He said government would therefore lend its support in every way to the new investor to be able to deliver on its promises of the people. Ford however cautioned the company not to dash the hopes of the people but work diligently to fulfill the promises it had made to the people.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of GCDGL, Kwame Akuffo announced that the company would from next week employ 2,500 workers to start its operations, but would employ 50,000 people in the long term.

He also promised that the company would carry out its operations in an environmentally responsible manner in order to leave a good legacy for future generations.
Source: Justice Lee Adoboe

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