The management of multinational Mining Firm, Newmont Ghana, has indicated that the safety of its employees and other persons within its operational areas is a topmost priority to the company.
The Communication and External Director of Newmont’s Ahafo mines, Agbeko Azumah, told members of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), who embarked on a tour of the Ahafo mines that “the safety of our employees and other persons who visit the mine areas is very important to us”.
A report produced by the company titled: “Beyond the Mines” further indicated that: “The safety of our people and the communities in which we operate is our top priority with the right to life and the right to safe working conditions among our most salient human rights issues. Mining involves hazards that include working with mobile equipment, heavy machinery, explosives and electrical systems.
“However, we strongly believe it is possible to effectively manage the risks associated with these hazards so that everyone returns home safely at the end of the day.
“Our Health and Safety Policy details our commitment to protecting workers, business partners and visitors. A set of standards provide the governance, structure and minimum requirements to achieve our goals of a workplace free from fatalities and serious injuries”.
It added: “Critical to our efforts in preventing fatalities and serious injuries are a rigor and discipline around, identifying and those risks that can lead to fatalities or serious injuries and implementing the appropriate systems, processes and controls. To achieve our goals we are focused on the following key driers: Fatality prevention elements of our Fatality Risk Management programme include clearly identifying the controls that really matter, ensuring accountability for implementing controls; verifying them; and reporting on the effectiveness of the controls.
“Employee Engagement Maturing our culture requires an environment where people feel empowered to work only when it is safe, stop work when they feel at risk, and have the courage to approach others and speak up when they see hazards or at-risk actions. Each Newmont operation conducts engagement that best fits the site’s culture with some sites developing more formal approaches, such as the employee-led Vital Behaviour teams at our Carlin operations in Nevada.
“With contractors constituting more than 50 per cent of our workforce, we conduct contractor training programmes and regular safety reviews in contractor work areas. Technical safety training is provided to all employees working at our mine sites, and safety inductions are conducted for all site visitors”.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney, has appealed to the government to deal with the bottlenecks facing the mining companies in the country.
According to him, issues regarding permits and taxing exploration are threatening the survival of mining companies in the country.
He explained that mining companies have had to go through a tedious proves of acquiring permit to explore in Ghana. This situation, he noted, is driving away investors from Ghana to other West African countries that have a smooth system of granting permits.
“Don’t tax exploration upfront because it is a high-risk area”, he appealed to the government.
He added: “If the conditions are not conducive you cannot have investors coming into the country”.