Newmont Gold Ghana Limited NGGL)has paid US$93.8 million as royalties to government from 2006 to the second quarter of 2011 for the production of gold, Mr Agbeko Kwame Azumah, Communications Manager of NGGL said on Tuesday.
He said the amount is from Newmont’s annual gold production target of 500 to 550 koz of which the year 2011 recorded the highest in gold production of up to 580 koz with capital investments of $1 billion.
Mr Azumah made this known during a briefing of the company’s activities since its establishment in 2006 to members of the Parliamentary Press Corps who were on a tour to the site in Ahafo in the Brong Ahafo region.
It tour was sponsored by Newmont Gold Ghana Limited to expose members of the corps to the operations of the company. Newmont employs approximately 34,000 people globally and 5,881 in Ghana. It has two sites in Ghana, Ahafo (Operational area) and Akyem (construction stage).
Mr Azuma said the company, which has four operational pits, Apensu, Subika, Awonsu, Amoma, the Ahafo North Exploration, projects 26km North of Amoma (7 pits) has also contributed 207 per cent of Ghana’s gold exports.
Nine per cent of Ghana’s total exports in 2009, which amounted to 582 million dollars, was also contributed by Newmont.
Twenty nine million dollars of gross revenue has been spent in Ghana and 91.1 million dollars as corporate tax paid to government.
Mr Azumah told the members that cyanide- a chemical used in processing gold was safe, adding that, the company subscribes to the international cyanide management code from the International Cyanide Management Institute.
He said the company with a 20 year life span mines 56M metric tonnes of gold per annum as well as 7.5M metric tonnes of ore was milled per annum and only operates surface mining but was carrying out some underground mining exploration which will expire in September 2012.
Though the group did not see the gold they were made to understand that the rocks were scanned in an excavator and if gold was found it was milled into fine powder before a chemical was added to get the gold.
He said studies have shown that the Ahafo gold mines generates nearly 10 per cent of Ghana’s total exports and 4.5 per cent of total foreign direct investments and almost 2 per cent of gross domestic products
Mr Azumah noted that projects financed from the gold revenue include; the district assembly office, the Methodist Junior High School, Rehabilitation of feeder roads, Ntotroso police station, court building, at Kenyase and Junior staff quarters.
Others are senior staff quarters, teacher’s quarters for Kenyase Anglican school, extension of electricity to Gyedu ICCESS, three Unit classroom block for Kenyase 2 Ahmadiya Basic school, KVIP for Ntotroso, rehabilitation of some facilities at Acherensua senior high school and 3-Unit classroom block at Wamahinso Roman Catholic Junior High School.
In 2008 Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation was launched to manage sustainable community development commitment to its ten host communities by which it set aside one dollar per ounce of gold sold and one per cent from the Ahafo mine into a fund with contribution as at the first quarter of 2012 amounting to approximately US$8.25 million, out of which GH4.5 million was on projects and GH900,000.00 on operational costs
More than 30 infrastructural and related projects have been completed across 10 communities with 21 new projects being executed this year at the cost of GHC631,925.75 and scholarships worth GHC2,026,279.01 awarded to 2,335 students in tertiary and senior high schools.
The total value of projects and investments to date is US$3 million approximately.
Mr Azumah noted that with grassroots participation and demand driven approach, 220 community members received GH70,000.00 through micro-credit schemes with payment ranging from GH100.00 to GH500.00.
He said the company also has some social interventions and community development in areas of health, education, infrastructure, support and capacity building, sanitation and gender mainstreaming.
Also included are programmes such as livelihood re-establishment, agricultural improvement, land access, skills development and income improvement, agribusiness growth initiative and vulnerable people’s programmes.
Mr Anthony Loh, Environmental Manager said efforts have been made to effectively manage the environment to comply with Ghanaian environmental regulations (Act 490, LI 1652), IFC standards ISO 14001 requirements and Newmont Corporate Standards.
It is also to protect water quality and quantity, ambient air, soil biodiversity and human health as well as demonstrate good environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
He said this was done in areas such as waste management of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, cyanide management, air quality management and land reclamation.
Mr Loh also explained that mining requires a lot of water and so the company impounded the Subri stream between 2005 and 2006 around the site which covers a land size of 200 hectares and contains Tilapia and catfish.
He said the normal content of oxygen in the water is 7 milligrams per liter but with seasonal changes the amount drops to two milligrams per liter and this causes some problems for the survival of some quantity of the fish.
He noted that efforts have been made to depopulate the stream of its fish but there was still some, adding that, by October this year the company expects to harvest more fish.
The Company was looking at the agro-industry to assist in the processing of the fish as it has been found to be wholesome, noting that, cyanide cannot get into the water containing the fish.
The group visited the silt fence, environment control dam, composting facility and the cyanide management plant.
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