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Regional News of Saturday, 16 July 2016


Akyem Reforestation: Newmont signs MoU to begin Phase II

Newmont Golden Ridge Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Forestry Commission of Ghana to commence the second phase of the Akyem Mine reforestation offset programme.

The restoration programme forms part of the mitigation measures Newmont Ghana is pursuing in consultation with the Forestry Commission to offset the impact of mining activities of its Akyem Mine on the Ajenu Bepo forest.

The event, which was held in Accra on Friday July 15, will see the commencement of the reclamation of 257 hectares of degraded forest land in the Kweikaru Forest Reserve in the Kade district of the Eastern Region.

The Akyem Mine began Phase I of the project by establishing a 60-hectare reforestation in the second quarter of 2014.

In total, 303 hectares of degraded land is expected to be recovered.

External Vice President for Sustainability and External Relations for Newmont Mining Corporation Dr Elaine Dorward-King expressed pleasure concerning the success of the MoU.

She pointed out that the afforestation was critical because of the “natural ecosystem’s role as a vast reservoir of genetic resources and biodiversity”.

In addition, she believes the project will provide “important habitats for wildlife in particular threatened and endangered species”.

“It will also ensure supply of natural pharmaceuticals which have enormous export potential,” Dr Dorward-King added.

She further revealed that at the global level, the firm had placed emphasis on development projects that are supportive of global and regional environmental conventions on climate change, the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, and the Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer.

On his part, Regional Senior Vice President for Africa Operations Alwyn Pretorius indicated that the firm had “demonstrated through what we have done so far under Phase I that we do take our commitments seriously. Responsibility is a core value of our company and that is the minimum standard we hold ourselves to. We believe that when you commit, you must honour!”

The Executive Director of the Forest Services Division, Raphael Yeboah, who was delighted with the coming to fruition of the project, indicated that aside the numerous benefits, the project will create “about 250 jobs in the local community”.

He added that the project will help the commission in achieving “its vision of leaving the future generations with better, richer, and more valuable forest and wildlife resources than it inherited”.

He admonished corporate bodies that social responsibility programmes of mining firms needed not always be the provision of physical structures for the communities but the need to strive “to invest some of their resources back into the enhancement of biodiversity and green projects”.

The commission pledged its unflinching support and assured that it would continue to play its role in the implementation of the MoU for the success of the reforestation project.