Kinross Chirano Gold Mines Limited (CGML), a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation, has said it plans to help its host communities develop through educational enhancement interventions, as it has launched a scholarship scheme for needy but brilliant students.
The newly-launched scholarship scheme, dubbed the ‘Chirano General Manager’s Scholarship Initiative’, is intended to provide higher education opportunities for local youth. The programme will grant funds to cover tuition, accommodation and other expenses at the tertiary level for beneficiaries’ entire educational term.
Vice President and General Manager, Terence Watungwa, said Chirano recognises education as an essential element in community advancement. He noted that with the company’s vision of using capacity-building to change lives for the better, the initiative goes to support, encourage and promote learning and higher education.
He said that the attainment of higher education is critical to the socio-economic transformation of every society. “Chirano is proud to announce this scholarship initiative to lend a hand to students from the Senior High School level who might not be able to progress to the higher level because of lacking financial support.”
Providing support to the young people of our community and supporting their education is important for the company, he added.
The initiative will admit students from public universities, public or mission colleges of education, public or mission nursing training colleges, and public vocational training institutions. Beneficiaries, residents of a Chirano Mine’s catchment communities, must have attended a local basic school and have excellent academic records at the Senior High School level.
Mr. Watungwa, at a brief ceremony to launch the scholarship, said data available indicate that investments by the mine in local communities – through the implementation of policies and programmes such as the scholarship initiative – results in significant improvements in the community’s socio-economic well-being.
In 2019, the Chirano Mine invested approximately US$460,000 in local community development. Contractors have also participated in projects to refurbish community infrastructure projects.
A survey indicated that more than 70% of residents of local communities are supportive of the mine because they have benefitted from the provision of better schools, healthcare, roads and housing, along with all residents having access to pipe-borne water and electricity.
Approximately US$13million has been invested in these projects and more than US$2million has been accumulated to fund the recently established Chirano Sefwiman Foundation, which will focus on sustainable development for the local area.
The mine has invested in people and businesses, with more than US$300million spent on payroll and procurement in the local area and region since 2010. Over 40% of Chirano employees are from the local area – together with another 550 local people working for mine contractors.
From 2010 to 2019, Chirano has contributed US$2.5billion to Ghana’s economy, with 12% of this amount spent in the Western North Region and local catchment areas. Of this total, US$1.5billion has been spent with Ghanaian providers, contributing directly and indirectly to economic growth in the country. In 2019, Chirano’s benefit footprint represented approximately 4% of Ghana’s mining GDP.
The chief of Sefwi Akaaso, who is chairman of the Community Consultative Committee (CCC) of the mine, lauded the scholarship scheme’s introduction. He said the start of this programme has come at a vital time, and will help train children within the catchment area for the future.
Already, the mine has pursued a number of educational projects over the years, which the Communication Officer for CGML, Kwabena Owusu-Ampratwum, said have been very impactful.
Since 2005, Chirano has supported an ‘Extra Classes’ programme for local schools in six communities through additional salary payments for teachers. Following the implementation of this programme, performance has steadily increased – with the schools achieving 100% pass rates in the last five years. One of the beneficiary schools, the Akoti Basic School, was recently ranked the 12th-best school out of 110 schools within the Wiawso Municipality.