By Dennis Peprah, GNA
Ntotroso, (B/A), Nov. 17, GNA - Mining companies have been urged to do more to provide opportunities for the youth in communities where they are operating through employable skills training.
Professor Daniel Mireku-Gyimah, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology, said this would help dial down youth agitations and community tensions in mining areas.
He said everything should be done to support and make the lives of young people in mine-affected meaningful to themselves and the society.
He was delivering a lecture to climax the 10th anniversary celebration of the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF), at Ntotroso in the Asutifi North District of Brong-Ahafo Region.
Prof Mireku-Gyimah said the alarming rate of social vices - theft, robbery, drug abuse and alcoholism among the youth in some mining communities particularly Tarkwa and Obuasi should give cause for concern.
These social vices, including sexual promiscuity, teenage pregnancies and tramadol abuse, he added, had surged because less attention was placed on building the future of the youth in those communities.
He noted that many of the young people in the mining areas had remained liabilities because they had no viable economic activity to sustain them and improve their socio-economic livelihoods.
He praised the management of the Ahafo project of the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) for establishing NADeF to push community development, empower and enhance the total wellbeing of the local people.
Mrs. Monica Nkrumah, the Board Chairperson of NADeF, said the Foundation had accrued GH¢61,798,838.41 as of the end of June, this year.
She gave the assurance that it would continue to ensure that people in affected mining communities were provided with projects that would improve their living conditions.
The Foundation had so far spent a total of GH¢47,049,520.24 on various projects, and capital expenses in the 10 Newmont Ahafo mine-take communities.
Mr Joseph Danso, the Social Responsibility Manager of the Ahafo Mine, said the mine was hopeful that in the next five to 10 years, NADeF would focus on developing sustainable legacies in the communities.
This could be possible if NADeF invested in projects that would help diversify the local economy to create more employment opportunities for the growing youthful population in the area.
Mr Evans Bobie, the Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf called for the traditional authorities in the area to use the mining royalties to bring development.
He commended Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) the level of development brought to the area and advised the people to live in peace with the company.
Nana Twereko Ampem II, the Paramount Chief of Ntotroso, said they had seen tremendous progress since the establishment of NADeF and applauded the management of the foundation.
NADeF was established in May 2008 to manage Newmont's sustainable community development commitment to its 10 host communities.
These are Kenyasi Number-One, Kenyasi Number-Two, Ntotroso, Gyedu and Wamahinso in Asutifi North District, Yamfo, Susuanso, Afrisipakrom, Techire and Adrobaa in the Tano North Municipality
The Foundation is funded by NGGL through a commitment made in 2006 to set aside US$1 of every ounce of gold produced and one percent of the annual net profit.