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Business News of Sunday, 30 November 2003

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Mining Companies celebrate Mines Safety Day at Obuasi

Obuasi, Nov. 30, GNA- Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines has challenged employees of the various mining companies to adopt responsible lifestyles that will enable them to protect themselves against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Mrs Bannerman, who was speaking at this year's national mines safety day at Obuasi on Saturday stressed that in the hierarchy of threats to the African mining industry, HIV/AIDS ranked very high and therefore there was the need to entreat mine workers to focus on attitudinal and behavioural change.

The Minister said looking at the spread of the menance it is in the interest of the mining companies to support HIV/AIDS programmes within the mining communities.

She however, congratulated the mining companies that have instituted workplace HIV/AIDS policies and programmes that are aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.

Mrs Bannerman announced that since the country is endowed with a variety of minerals, it is the policy of government to intensify the exploration of this natural wealth to push the nation into the status of a middle income country in the very near future.

In doing so, she said since the government is aware of the consequences of reckless and unscientific mining practices, the ministry would see to enforce the country's health, safety and environmental laws and regulations which seek to protect the communities from the extraction and processing of the minerals.

"It is for this reason that mining companies are required by law to produce environmental impact assessment for approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before licenses are issued to them to mine", the Minister said.

Mrs Bannerman said these measures are to ensure that modern and scientific environmental, health and safety standards are built into the design of new mining projects at the planning phase. More

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr S.K. Boafo in a speech read for him made a passionate appeal to all mining companies to put in place best acceptable standards in their operations to manage safety "even beyond the frontiers of the mines".

The Regional Minister questioned the mining companies about the kind of sustainable policies put in place to ensure the safety and comfort of the people who live in their operational areas.

Mr Boafo touched on illegal mining (galamsey) and invited the mining companies to consider the best way to address the problem.

In his welcoming address, Mr Danies Owiredu, the Managing Director of AGC, Obuasi noted that the representation at the day gives credence to how the mining companies attach greater importance to safety issues.

In the finals of the safety competition, Tarkwa Goldfields Ghana Limited, came first with 89.4 percent, followed by AGC Obuasi with 88 percent with Bonte Goldmines placing third with 86.6 percent and Ghana Manganese Company taking the fourth place with 82.9 percent.