Gold Fields Ghana Limited has handed eight educational and sanitation projects to the communities in their catchment areas at Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality and the Prestea Huni Valley, at a total cost of GH¢13million.
The projects are an extension of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Tarkwa; Teachers accommodation at Koduakrom; and the three-bedroom bungalow for the Municipal Directorate at the Ghana Education Service.
The rest are renovation of A’koon MA Primary and Juniour High Schools, two eight-seat water-closet facilities for Subri and Bompieso, as well as a three-classroom Early Childhood Development Centre at Huni Valley.
Mr. Augustine Wireko Acting General Manager of Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Damang Mine, explained that the company considers host communities as one of its most important stakeholders.
“It is often reported that mining companies such as ours are only concerned with maximising profits at the detriment of the host communities; for Gold fields, this could not be farther from the truth,” he said.
He said the company has put in place measures to ensure that for as long as it continues to operate, funds will be set aside for host community development – even in times when the operation is not making profits.
He pointed out that all over the world resource-endowed communities are clamouring for jobs with companies permitted to extract the resources; and the 16 host communities of Gold Fields are no different.
“The hard truth is that Gold Fields cannot provide jobs for all jobseekers in the host communities; however, the few vacancies that become available with our contractors, the host community will be given the due priority in filling those vacancies,” he added
Again, Mr. Wireko explained that the company in collaboration with GIZ introduced the Youth in Organic Agriculture Production project in 2016, which is aimed at training youth in the catchment area to grow wholesome vegetables and develop a sustainable value chain around it.
Mr. David Johnson, Vice President, Stakeholder Relation, Gold Fields Ghana Foundation (Tarkwa/Damang), said Gold Fields Ghana Foundation “was set up to demonstrate our commitment toward the socio-economic growth and development of Ghana, with emphasis on primary stakeholder communities”.
With this vision, he said, the company created a transparent and sustainable funding structure that is tied to production and profitability. “So, for every ounce of gold that we produce a dollar is given to the Foundation which is topped up with 1% of the mines’ pre-tax profit – creating a substantial stream for the development of communities within our operational areas.
“Since its inception 16 years ago, the foundation has spent over US$36million in stakeholder communities at both Tarkwa and Damang; in the areas of education, water and sanitation, health, agriculture and agri-business and infrastructure,” he said.
Education, he said, remains one of the major priority areas, knowing that’s the best legacy Gold Fields can leave for the communities. Our Tarkwa Mine is in the third year of its teachers’ awards programme, and soon Damang Mine will introduce a similar teachers’ award programme.
He announced that this year the Foundation Trustees have approved projects worth US$6.7million for the host communities at the Tarkwa and Damang operations.
This year, he said, the Huni Valley Clinic will see a face-lift with expansion of the male and female wards and renovation of the Out Patients Department (OPD) area, as well as new hospital beds and other furniture being fixed in the facility to improve health care delivery for the community.
“The Tarkwa Mine will continue with rehabilitation of the Awudua Nkwanta/Awudua road, and these are just a few,” he added.
Mr. Addo Danquah-Akuffo, Regional Director of Education, in an address read for him noted that the company has been very supportive in the area; its support for educational development is visible as it keeps creating an enabling environment for education to thrive.
“Thank you for ending the nightmare that directors of education and some teachers go through in getting infrastructure which helps in effective teaching and learning. All schools in the company’s catchment area are performing so well, especially in their Basic.”