The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has asked mining companies in the country to strictly comply with the law on local content that requires them to give priority to local people in the recruitment of workers for their entities.
He stressed that the government would not relent on cracking the whip on companies which failed to meet that requirement.
Speaking to journalists during a tour of Anglogold Iduapriem Mines in Tarkwa in the Western Region yesterday, the minister said it was important for mining companies to help build the capacity of the local people to help sustain the mining industry.
The minister's entourage included the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mining, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi; the Administrator of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF), Dr Norris Hammer, and some officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
The team visited various departments of Anglogold Iduapriem Mines, including the gold processing plant, some of the company's mining pits and social intervention projects undertaken in collaboration with the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Assembly under the MDF.
The team also visited the University of Mines, where some infrastructure projects are being constructed under the MDF.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh lauded the management of Anglogold Iduapriem Mines for adhering to the local content law.
Out of its 1,720 employees, only two are expatriates, while the remaining are locals.
The minister urged all other mining companies to follow the good example of Anglogold Iduapriem Mines to ensure that local communities benefited from mineral deposits.
"I want the other mining companies to know that they cannot be mining in this country and fail to support local people as the law stipulates. Companies which are still falling short of this demand ought to put their act together," he cautioned.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh also urged the mining companies to collaborate with the government to renovate deplorable roads in mining communities to make transportation better for residents.
He also asked the mining companies to live up to their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the mining communities.
MD of Anglogold Iduapriem Mines
The Managing Director of Anglogold Iduapriem Mines, Mr Jasper Musadaidzwa, said although the company had made enormous investment to boost its operations, challenges such as high fuel and electricity costs were major setbacks to sustaining the gains.
"As a company, we pay the right royalties and also do a lot of CSR in the areas of education, health, sanitation and economic empowerment to support the 19 communities within our jurisdiction," he said.