The chiefs of the Asutifi District of Brong Ahafo Region have appealed to management of Newmont Mining Company to employ more indigenous people.
The chiefs noted that the youth in the area constantly accused them of not collaborating with the company to improve the welfare of people in the area.
Nana Barima Twereko Ampem II, Ntotrosomanhene, made the appeal at a public forum on the proposed Subika underground mining project, by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited at Kenyasi in the district.
The meeting, which was organised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was to solicit the views of the people to be incorporated in the draft report for implementation of the project.
Nana Barima Twereko Ampem said if the unemployment problem in the area was not tackled, it could degenerate into an uncontrollable situation.
He commended EPA for implementing its environmental assessment impact programme, which started in 2010, aimed at addressing the concerns of the people before the underground mining takes off in 2017.
The project when it comes on stream is estimated to produce about four million ounces of gold as well as extend Ahafo mines operations to 2033.
It is expected to increase the contribution to the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADEF) by 17 to 25 million dollars, and provide about 600 permanent job opportunities as well as increase the amount of royalties to the government.
The head of mining at the EPA, Michael Sandow Ali, said the public hearing was a legal requirement by the agency before issuing permits for mining exploration.
He said the EPA Act 490 1994, establishing the EPA, ensured the passing of the environmental assessment regulations LI 1652 1999, to manage the impact of mining operations on communities.
Mr. Ali assured the people that the EPA would take the necessary steps to protect the people from the negative activities of mining companies.
The acting General Manager of Newmont Ghana Ahafo Mine, Joshua Mortoti, said the company had engaged with stakeholders on issue related to the scope of the project, mitigation of project impact as well as the benefits associated with the project.
“We believe that the plans we have put together for this project will benefit all of us – government, our communities and the company as well”, he stated.
Mr.Mortoti said the Subika underground project was a catalyst for the execution of the mill expansion project, which would generate employment opportunities during the construction phase.
From Daniel Dzirasah, Kenyasi