Newmont launches programme for jobs for illegal miners
Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) has launched an Alternative Livelihood Training programme to provide employable skills training to some illegal miners operating within its Ahafo North and Ahafo South concessional areas.
In that regard, the multi-national mining company is spending US$300,000 to train pioneers of the programme in welding and fabrication trades.
The 24 trainees, selected from the 10 mine host communities, would undergo 12 weeks intensive training at CPI, a Tema-based internationally certified training institution.
According to Ms Adiki Ofeibea Ayitevie, Vice President, Sustainability and External Relations of the NGGL, the trainees would also be supported with monthly stipends for their upkeep.
They were selected from Kenyase Number One, Kenyase Number Two, Ntotroso, Gyedu, Susuanso, Techire, Afrisipakrom, Yamfo, Adrobaa and Wamahinso in the Ahafo Region.
Ms Ayitevie explained that though the training did not guarantee automatic employment, the company was discussing with some contractors of the mine to see the possibility of employing some of the trainees.
The company, she said, was also considering an opportunity to create an industrial park for them to establish their businesses on completion.
She noted that the programme was targeted at only community members engaged in illegal mining activities value chain, including those who sell, mine and process the gold, adding that, “it is our hope to make the training a regional programme which will extend to our Akyem mine host communities as well.”
In a brief background of the training, Ms Ayitevie explained in 2018 an artisanal small-scale mining baseline impact assessment study conducted by the company in its Ahafo and Akyem enclave revealed about 8,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries of illegal mining in the company’s concessions.
“Out of it most beneficiaries, particularly those directly engaged in the sector were migrants from elsewhere in Ghana and other West African countries”, she said, indicating, “most of the youth involved in illegal mining would want to opt out if they had different employment avenues to earn a living,” she said.
Ms Ayitevie explained Newmont together with all key stakeholders, including traditional authorities, non-governmental and civil society organisations, the Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council, youth groups and identified illegal miners in the Ahafo South and Ahafo North held a series of discussions to implement the programme to support the miners.
“Those discussions are what has led to today’s launch of the pilot programme that we hope will provide the selected youth a meaningful, decent and viable alternative to illegal mining,” she stated.
The candidates were selected through the laid down local-recruitment process for such programmes and had gone through all the required process to reach the stage, Ms. Ayitevie added.
Mr George Yaw Boakye, the Ahafo Regional Minister lauded the programme and commended the mining company, saying it would help reduce unemployment in the mining communities.
He asked the trainees to take the training seriously, saying, “you are the pioneers, and your behaviour would determine whether the company would continue with the programme to benefit more people.”
Nana Osei Kofi Abiri, the Paramount Chief of Kenyase Number One appealed to the NGGL to work out modalities so that if it could not engage the trainees, they would get some seed capital to start their own businesses.
He said though the programme was commendable, it would not achieve the intended purpose or desirable outcome if the trainees completed and remained unemployed.