Newmont Golden Ridge Limited (NGRL) and the Forestry Commission, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to commence the implementation of the second phase of the Newmont Reforestation Offset Programme.
The restoration programme forms part of the mitigation measures Newmont Ghana is undertaking in line with the approved Environmental Impact Statement for acquiring and mining 101 hectares outs of the 568.56 hectares of Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve.
Already, NGRL has completed phase one of the project by establishing a 60-hectare plantation in off reserve areas between the company’s water storage dam and the Mamang Forest Reserve.
The MoU would 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 to make up for the 303 hectares reforestation commitment.
The Executive Director of the Forest Services Division, Mr Raphael Yeboah said the implementation of the project would help the Commission to achieve its vision of leaving future generations with a better richer and more valuable forest and wildlife resources than it inherited.
“The project apart from its environmental benefits of enhancing biodiversity also reduces carbon emissions to offset the company’s carbon footprints,” he said
It would help create about 250 jobs in the local community.
He urged other mining companies to strive as part of their social responsibility programmes to invest some of their resources back into the enhancement of biodiversity and green projects and not always the provision of physical structures for the communities.
The commission pledged its support to the project and gave assurance of its unflinching role in the implementation of the MoU to ensure success.
Executive Vice President, Sustainability and External Relations for Newmont Mining Corporation, Dr Elaine Dorward-King lauded the commitment of the Forestry Commission to ensuring the fulfilment of a bold commitment in the approved Environmental Impact Statement.
“As responsible stewards of the environment, we continuously work towards a deeper commitment to environmental protection through strategic planning and management of our operational activities which have potential on the environment,” she said.
Dr Doward-King said the Akyem reforestation project offers Newmont another opportunity to demonstrate to the world it’s little but significant contribution to the cause of good environmental management.
She pointed out that the afforestation is critical because of the “natural ecosystem’s role as a vast reservoir of genetic resources and biodiversity.
She expressed the hope that the project would 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.
The Regional Senior Vice President for Africa Operations, Alwyn Pretorius said Newmont took its commitment seriously as shown in the results of the Phase I.
“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,” he said.
Mr Yaw Okyere Ntrama, Acting General Manager, Akyem Mine said the reforestation offset project is threefold replacement of the disturbed forest cover in the Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve, replacing 303 hectares of forest cover in the degraded Mamang Forest Reserve.
“We, in Newmont and especially those of us on the Akyem Mine will continue to work with all government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that we deliver successfully on this commitment programme whilst we continue to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining,” he said.