Newmont Akyem Mine supports communities in Birim North
Newmont Africa’s Akyem Mine, which is involved in the extraction and processing of gold, is located within the Birim North District in the Eastern Region.
Date Created : 9/7/2023 12:00:00 AM : Story Author : Haruna Yussif Wunpini/ Ghanadistricts.com
Lying in its operational areas are small and big towns and villages such as New Abirem, Old Abirem, Afosu, Aduasena, Ntronang, Hweakwae, Adjenua and Yayaaso, as well as numerous hamlets such as Yaw Tano and Amanfrom, among others.
Due to the lack of much-needed social amenities in such towns and communities before the advent of the company’s operations, a foundation, Newmont Akyem Development Foundation, was set up to see to the provision of such amenities to improve the living standard of the inhabitants, mostly peasant farmers.
So far, several clinics, Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds, boreholes, classroom blocks, skills training centres, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training centres and a mini oil palm extraction factory have been provided for the inhabitants.
Other projects under construction are a tennis ball court and a basketball court, which will help to unearth talents among the teeming youth of the areas, and a Newmont Afforestation project.
While the classroom blocks and clinics are to improve education and health, the skills training centres are to offer the necessary vocational training to the youth.
The boreholes are to provide potable water, while the durbar grounds are to accommodate the chiefs and people during social gatherings such as festivals, funerals, weddings, naming ceremonies and meetings.
The oil palm extraction factory became necessary because the area is a mine host community noted for the production of palm fruit, and young and old women living in the area are making good use of the machine to better their lives.
Some of the projects embarked on for the beneficiary communities are a Vocational and Technical Institute at Akyem Amanfrom, a skills training centre at Aduasena, an ultramodern classroom block for the Roman Catholic Primary School at Hweakwae, a police bungalow to help accommodate police personnel at New Abirem and a town road at Afosu.
Others are a new palm oil extraction machine at Botcheykrom, a tennis court and a basketball court under construction at Aduasena, a clinic at Aduasena and a 60-hectare forest plantation project which will soon be handed over to the Forestry Commission next year. Touring the facilities on August 24, the Executive Secretary of the Newmont Akyem Development Foundation, Paul Suchmann Apenu, said about 30,000 inhabitants in the area had benefited from such social amenities.
That, according to him, had impacted positively on the lives of the beneficiary individuals and communities. To further boost education, Mr Apenu stated that over 4,000 students studying at different levels of education had been catered for by a scholarship package and that some of the students had completed their courses while others were currently in school.
He said under the foundation's skills training initiative, over 300 youth had benefited from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes to provide them with the requisite skills in various areas.
Such areas, he stated, included welding and fabrication, fashion designing, catering, plumbing, carpentry and masonry, among others. In all, Mr Apenu said over 100 youth were undergoing training, which meant that the foundation was impacting the communities and individuals to establish their own businesses.
He indicated that the foundation was fully aware of the plight of Newmont's corporate social responsibility which enjoined it to give back to society, especially where their operations were located. The Headteacher of the Hweakwae R/C Primary School, Patrick Amoh Ennin, who was highly elated about the reconstruction of the school said the use to close school for the students to go home anytime it was about to rain, due to the bad nature of the school buildings.
Mr Ennin stated that enrolment in the school had now increased because of the rehabilitation of the classroom block by the Newmont Akyem Development Foundation. He commended the Newmont Akyem Development Foundation for their intervention which prevented the school from collapsing.
The Odikro of Botcheykrom, one of the communities near the mines, Nana Kojo Agyemang Botchey, who was also happy about the provision of a palm oil extraction machine says that the community was noted for the cultivation of palm fruits. He said women in the community were into the palm oil business and that the extraction machine would help to process their palm fruits so that they would not travel long distances to places such as New Abirem, Aduasena, Ntronang and Afosu, among others, to process them.
In an interview with with two students, Janet Serwaa Sethuka and Osman Aisha who were learning welding and fabrication at the Akyem Vocational Training Institute, they said their vision was to be able to establish their own businesses after the training.
However, they said if that prospect is delayed, they would be excited to find themselves working in companies either in Ghana or abroad to earn more income to cater for themselves and their families after their training.
They thanked Newmont Akyem Development Foundation for giving them the opportunity to be trained.