By Erica Apeatua Addo, GNA
Teberebie (W/R), Aug. 31, GNA – AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem (AAI) Gold Mines has constructed a market at a total cost of GHC 549,000 to support economic activities in Teberebie and its surrounding communities.
The facility is made up of 12 stores, 28 sheds and a washroom and with potable water system.
Handing over the edifice to the chief of the area at an inaugural ceremony in Teberebie, Mr Jasper Musadaidzwa, the Managing Director of AAI Gold Mine, said the Iduapriem Community Trust Fund over the last five years has focused on health, education, water and sanitation.
Mr Musadaidzwa said « we are focusing more on empowering our host communities towards economic independence through participating in the mine’s local spending on suppliers and contractors ».
The Managing Director urged members in its catchment area to establish businesses and form cooperatives to help supply inputs into the mine and beyond.
He said one topical issue confronting mining communities and the nation was the increasing rate of unemployment among the youth.
« We have set structures with the assistance of traditional authorities. More so an internal Community Employment Management Procedure has been developed and signed off for implementation, » he said.
He said they have streamlined community employment practices, stressing that all their contractors have been employed from a list developed by the communities.
Mr Musadaidzwa said about 393 short-term jobs were provided in the mines for the youth from surrounding communities.
The Managing Director commended the security agencies for playing a vital role in minimizing the threat on their businesses and the environment by illegal miners.
Professor Newton Amegbey, Board Chairman, AAI Gold Mines, said Teberebie is one of the fast growing communities within the mine’s host area which did not have a convenient place to serve as market for traders and consumers.
He said their farm produce and other wares for sale were commonly displayed along the road in the center of town causing congestion with its associated safety implications; like vehicles running over traders.
By way of addressing this challenge, the board chairman said the community leadership sought assistance from AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Community Trust Fund to support in the construction of the market facility.
Prof Amegbey said the sustainability of the market is very important if they are to realize the objective for which it was established.
He said to achieve this, the planning unit of Tarkwa Nsueam Municipal Assembly has supported the community to inaugurate a committee to be responsible for the management and maintenance of the facility.
Mr Gilbert Kennedy Asmah, the Municipal Chief Executive, urged the members of the committee to manage the facility and do more to aid the development of the community.
Mr Sulemanu Koney, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said mining companies under the umbrella of the Chamber continue to engage their host communities periodically to appreciate their socio-economic needs, which are prioritized, and executed with funds provided by mining companies.
He said the project executed by mining companies are not determined by the mining companies, but rather driven by the communities’ demands.
Mr Koney said it is the Chamber’s expectation that the facility would improve the economic fortunes of AAI Gold Mines communities and also provide a conducive environment for mothers to trade and earn an income to support the family.
Nana Kojo Minah II, Odikro of Teberebie, expressed gratitude to AAI Gold Mine for their support.