In an effort to free the Newmont Ahafo Mine concession from illegal mining activities, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) has initiated steps to create an alternative means of livelihood for the illegal miners.
The agro-based initiative is expected to create about 26,600 jobs in the first five years. The company said it will partner agencies like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in the implementation process.
“From a developed economic feasibility study, we have selected three crops – cassava, maize and plantain – for the job revolution. It is estimated that within the first five years of the initiative, it will create about 26,000 farmer-based jobs and 500 to 600 agro processing jobs at peak period,” Derrick Boateng, Newmont’s Senior Manager for Sustainability and External Relations, said.
Years before Newmont started mining, cultivation of cassava, maize and plantain was among the major economic activities in the two host districts of Newmont Ahafo Mine-Asutifi North and Tano North.
Many of the farmers have lost their source of livelihood to mining, pushing a number of them, especially the youth, into illegal mining.
Efforts to revive the agribusiness sector there will really activate the desired diversification of the local economy.
Speaking to the B&FT during a visit to Newmont Ahafo Mine by members of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), Mr. Boateng revealed that the company will tap into government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ programme to consolidate the fortunes of the proposed agro factories.
“We will not only set agro-based processing companies but move further to create market linkages for the communities. In the long term, we hope to add on crops like cashew and tomatoes. This will create more employment opportunities for the locals here,” he added.
Over the years, the company has been pushing to create local employment and business opportunities.
Newmont is of the belief that building local industrial capacity is one of the most effective ways to translate mining-induced development into diverse economic growth.
In the last decade, it has been collaborating with the government, host communities and local enterprises in that direction.
One of its flagship interventions is the Ahafo Linkages Programme (ALP), which is a partnership programme with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Its aim is to develop local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that provide goods and services to the mine as well as facilitating the development of non-mining businesses to support a diversified local economy.