As Gold Fields celebrates its 25 years of operating in Ghana, the company headlined this year’s West Africa Mining and Power Expo (WAMPEX 2018), a major forum that attracted over 1,400 mining and power industry professionals, as well as companies from more than 16 countries.
Held at the Accra International Conference Centre, this year’s event was on the theme: “A responsible and sustainable mining industry: A partner for national development,” and was attended by His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.
Commenting on the rationale for the sponsorship, Gold Fields’ Executive Vice President and Head of West Africa, Mr. Alfred Baku, said the mining giant has been supporting the Chamber of Mines in hosting the exhibition and conference over the years because it sees the event as one of the ways of bringing key industry players together to discuss pertinent issues relating to the industry and presents an opportunity to showcase the sector’s contribution to national development.
"This year, as we celebrate our 25 years of operating in Ghana, we wanted to communicate our own contribution to the development of our communities, as well as the nation, through our investment in community development initiatives and programs, and our fiscal contribution to the national economy. At 25 years we look back at what we’ve done, and even more importantly, what more we can do to make an even greater positive impact to our communities and the state,” he said.
With particular reference to Gold Fields’ direct contribution to the national economy, Mr. Baku said: “We have paid around US$1billion in dividends to shareholders, since the beginning of our surface mining operations in 1998. Of this amount, the Government of Ghana, having a 10% ownership through a free-carried interest, has earned in excess of US$100million in dividend payments. During the same period, Gold Fields has paid over US$1.2billion directly to the Government in corporate taxes and royalties.”
Mr. Baku argued that Gold Fields’ impact should not only been seen in terms of direct tax and royalty payments. “Our Tarkwa and Damang mines create over 7,000 direct and indirect jobs annually for Ghanaians. Through these employment opportunities, the livelihoods of an additional 70,000 to 100,000 people are protected and sustained, year-in, year-out. We are currently busy with the upgrade of a 33km public road within our area of operation at a cost of over US$21million,” Mr. Baku added.
He stated that the US$43.7million, which Gold Fields has spent on community development, has helped to support farmers, promote education, improve healthcare, ensure access to potable water, and deliver infrastructure to communities. He recognized the government’s support to the mining sector, and called for continuous collaboration between government and mining sector players to address key national developmental issues.
Gold Fields held an employee launch of their 25 anniversary a couple of weeks ago in Tarkwa, to officially mark the beginning of the celebrations. This was followed by a media launch in Accra on May 28. The celebrations will run throughout the rest of the year, and activities will include a special anniversary golf tournament, as well as the commissioning of the 33km road in December.