Gold-mining company Golden Star Resources Limited in a show of proof of its commitment to engender trust and maintain a good working relationship with its host communities has signed a memorandum of understanding with all 12 communities nestling around its Wassa Mine in the Wassa Fiase Traditional Area of the Western Region.
Since the commencement of its operations in 2005, the gold-mining company has been engaging community leaders and members on employment and development programs.
Though the company has been honouring its commitment in giving employment and awarding contracts to community members, the absence of a formal framework to guide these commitments has, in some instances, generated suspicion between the communities and the company over the true intent.
Thus, the memorandum of understanding, while serving as a guide and a working document on issues of employment and award of contracts, will also ensure transparency by creating a stronger company and community relationship.
At a ceremony to officially sign the MoU, Chief Executive Officer of Golden Star Resources Limited Andrew Wray described as a significant milestone the deal in formalizing the mutually beneficial relationship between the company and host communities.
He insists that this is in tandem with the commitment of carrying out their operations in a responsible manner by enhancing the social and economic standards in its operational areas.
“We are firmly committed to maintaining and building stronger relationships with you by going beyond purely statutory obligations, I hope you would agree that we have amply demonstrated this intention in the numerous projects already undertaken by our joints efforts, latest being the adoption of a local school and the commitment of USD 500,000 towards improving it and bringing it to a standard comparable to any in the world.”
Managing Director of Golden Star Wassa Limited Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah explained that to ensure that all parties to the memorandum of understanding are fully abreast with the content, the process took one year to complete.
“We grouped the process into three phases. The first phase involved first and second community consultations to solicit views and validate concerns raised by community members. The second phase centered on the formation and inauguration of a 35-member Negotiating Committee. The work of the committee was to discuss the validated concerns and formulate them into acceptable statements of agreement of the development of the MOU. The third phase constituted validation of the negotiated agreement, signing of the MOU and outdooring of the completed MOU.”
He stressed that the memorandum of understanding, though laudable, will not achieve its intended purpose if it is not given the needed respect and recognition by the concerned parties.
“I would like to make a passionate appeal to all stakeholders especially the youth to use the directives enshrined in the MoU and other agreed existing protocols to deal with any misunderstanding that may occur particularly from employment in the course of our operations.”
Scores of community members who were at the signing ceremony applauded the company for the memorandum of understanding.
“For some years now, I’ve been trying to get employment. I have presented all the necessary documents. Unfortunately, I have not been successful and I think this is because the process is not made public. So, with this MoU, I’m sure I will know exactly when the next call of employment will be, where to go and who to deal with,” Kofi Mensah, a resident, said.
The memorandum of understanding focusses on local employment contract, Golden Star Development Fund and relationship and sustainable livelihood.
The 12 participating beneficiary communities include Akyempim, Kubekro, Nsadweso, Old Subri and Juabeng, which form the directly impacted communities.
The resettlement communities include New Togbekrom and New Akosombo.
Atieku, Accra Town and Odumasi/Essumunamu form the indirectly impacted communities while the two divisional communities are Mampongso and Enyinabrim.
In recognition of his significant contributions to the growth of Golden Star Resources Limited one of the underground portals at the Wassa Mine was named after the Executive Vice President of the company Daniel Owiredu.
Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wray while unveiling the portal said: “Daniel has been instrumental in Golden Star’s success in Ghana and the company’s story will not be complete without him and the team, ‘aseda nkoaa’.”
Daniel Owiredu expressed his deepest appreciation to the company for the recognition and described the honour as humbling.
“Wassa is truly a great mine and I have no doubt that it is going to be even greater. It is truly a world class mine and you take this mine anywhere and it will stand up equally. So, I’m very honored to have my name etched here.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana