West African gold production and exploration company Endeavour Mining has relocated all Salman township community residents to the new Salman village near the company’s Nzema gold mine, in Ghana.
“One of the most important aspects of the Nzema gold mine development has been the resettlement of the local Salman community. “The result is outstanding and we have established a protocol for future involuntary resettlements in Ghana and its mining jurisdictions,” Endeavour Mining COO Mark Connelly states.
“The completion of the village resettlement and demolition and removal of the old village provides greater flexibility for the mining operations at Nzema. “As mining advances at depth in the Salman openpits, blasting fresh rock is now under way.”
The first blast occurred in the Salman 1A pit on February 28.
This advancement will improve mined ore grades and provide greater ore feed flexibility for the process plant, Connelly adds.
The Salman resettlement project involved resettling 2 200 people at a 100 ha site bought in 2008, about 1 km to the east of planned mining at the Salman central pit.
Negotiations for the resettlement were an integral part of the mine approval and were con- ducted between the company and the Salman community over a two-year period, starting in 2008 and culminating in the signing of the resettlement agreement on May 11, 2010, and a subsequent memorandum of understanding in October 2010.
These documents, in addition to Endeavour’s Resettlement Action Plan, became the blueprint for the resettlement of the Salman township.
The village comprises 706 structures, including residential dwellings; detached kitchens; religious and commercial buildings; 29 public structures including schools, a health centre, a police station and quarters for teachers, nurses and police, as well as more than 20 abulition blocks.
The structures were built with the use of hydraform brick technology, which is stronger and cooler than the commonly used cement blocks, enhancing both the aesthetic and the practical benefits of the new village.
The bricks were constructed with the use of local labour, creating a sustainable local industry with the hydraform block-making equipment being given to the community to further assist this development.
The construction also included 7 km of gravel roads, 17 boreholes and electrical distribution to all residential and community buildings.
As part of the Resettlement Action Plan, Endeavour started a livelihood restoration programme restoring the livelihoods of over 500 farmers impacted on by the Nzema gold project.
The company also recently launched the Nzema Gold Scholarship Programme, also known as Nwoma Moale.
Scholarships will benefit talented youths pursuing secondary, tertiary or vocational education within Endeavour’s operational area. In its opening year, nine students were selected from the Salman community to receive education scholarships.
The programme will be extended to other communities in the operational area in the next academic year.
Besides the Nwoma Moale programme, 40 young people are currently enrolled at the Kikam Technical Institute, receiving vocational training in aluminum fabrication, electrical installations and computer hardware, as wll as mobile phone, refrigeration and air-conditioning repairs.
This programme is run by Endeavour in conjunction with the Australian High Commission in Ghana.
Endeavour says it is committed to operating in a way that takes into account not only the financial implications of business decisions, but also the social and environmental impact it has on the community.
“Our aim is to improve economic function and quality of life through investment in people, and our focus remains on education and training,” Connelly concludes.