In 2018, Gold Fields Ghana celebrated 25 years of mining in Ghana. The company operates the Tarkwa and Damang gold mines in the Western Region, and is part of the Gold Fields Group, a globally diversified gold producer.
While the company puts a strong emphasis on host community procurement and employment, it also invests in various community development projects. These are funded by the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation. The company contributes US$1 per ounce of gold produced plus 1.5% of annual pre-tax profit to the Foundation.
The EVP and Head of Gold Fields in West Africa, Mr Alfred Baku, spoke to Top Guide about the company’s shared value initiatives.
Gold Fields Ghana spent US$15.3 million on socio-economic development projects in 2018.How do you evaluate their impact?
Our host communities are our key stakeholders, so their development is of paramount importance to us. Together, our Tarkwa and Damang mines have 19 stakeholder communities. Periodically, we conduct impact assessments and studies to gauge the extent to which the lives of community members have improved through our social investment projects. This helps us to structure future initiatives.
OUR SOCIAL INVESTMENTS ARE WORTHWHILE AS WE OWE THEM TO THE COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE GRACIOUSLY HOSTED OUR MINES.
Gold Fields places an emphasis on local procurement and over 70% of your employees are now host community hires. How do you achieve this?
We have a robust local content and host community procurement and employment strategy which supports the development of local businesses. In 2018, approximately 87% of our total procurement spend went to local suppliers, while 33% was dedicated to host community suppliers. We do this so that more jobs will be created in our communities.
On the jobs side, we’ve also constituted employment committees comprising members of our host communities and company staff which select qualified community members to fill vacancies. This helps to recruit true community indigenes.
Gold Fields helped finance a programme for the employment of youths in agriculture in Tarkwa and Damang, among other community projects. Can you tell us more?
The Gold Fields Ghana Foundation focuses on education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and water and sanitation. Gold Fields introduced the Youth in Horticulture Production (YouHoP) project in 2016 in partnership with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Under YouHoP, farmers are trained in best practices of farm management including nursery and transplanting, pest and disease control, pesticide application, proper harvesting and farm record keeping.
About 279 farmers participated in the programme in 2018. Since it began, hundreds of jobs have been created and farmers are seeing real improvements in their livelihood. We also invested over US$27 million in rehabilitating the 33km Tarkwa-Damang road, which has reduced travel time by half.
The Gold Fields scholarship scheme continues to shape the lives of hundreds of host community students. So far, about 2,014 students have benefitted since 2005.
We believe these socio-economic investments are worthwhile because we owe them to the communities that have graciously hosted our mines over the past 25 years.
What other social programmes are planned?
We are now focusing on legacy projects that have long-term impacts. We have decided to upgrade the 400-capacity Tarkwa and Abosso (T&A) Park into a 10,400-capacity international standard sports stadium. We also plan to extensively renovate the Apinto Government Hospital in Tarkwa. When completed, it will be able to handle a lot more cases and serve patients from all over western Ghana.