The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Asumah Kyeremeh, observed that the action taken by the Chirano Gold Mines, a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation, should set the pace for other mining companies to emulate.

His comments follow the 2014 reports of the Auditor General and report by the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), which revealed that some mining companies have not been making any payment to the state for its equity shares.

However, following the consistent examples set by the Chirano Gold Mines, Mr. Kyeremeh urged “all other mining companies who have gotten the opportunity to operate in the country to live and act in accordance with the law”.

He added that they should comply with the agreement that have entered into “by earnestly and honestly declaring their dividend, and our percentage in it be paid to the government of Ghana”.

The minister, who was speaking at a brief presentation ceremony in Accra during a visit by officials of Chirano Gold Mines to present the cheque to government, also lauded the company for the socio-economic activities being undertaken in its catchment areas.He said this has created employment for a number of Ghanaians.

However, he prevailed on the company to extend these efforts to reach a lot more people.

The Vice-President and General Manager of Kinross Chirano, Adriano Sobreira, said the payment of dividend illustrates their capacity to create and deliver value to shareholders, host countries and local communities.

He said: “This dividend represents only part of the significant contributions Kinross has made to local communities and development of the Ghanaian economy, with more than US$1.8billion spent in the country since 2011”.

From 2011 to 2017, the company contributed approximately US$400million to the national economy through taxes and royalties paid to government and US$257million through wages and salaries paid to employees.

The company has also provided numerous business opportunities to local contractors, with nearly US$1.2 billion spent on goods and services with local companies since 2011, and with 73% of all procurement at Chirano done in-country during 2017.

In addition to its fiscal and economic contribution to the development of Ghana, Kinross Chirano has strongly supported programmes in health and education – positively impacting more than 212,000 beneficiaries in communities surrounding the mine in 2017.

Since 2011, the company has spent more than US$12million in programmes for local communities: including building clinics and schools, providing vital medical equipment to hospitals and health centres, drastically reducing malaria rates around the mine, and funding professional training for more than 300 youths.

The Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Mines, Mr. Sulemani Koney – who was also present at the ceremony, noted that it is the Chamber’s expectation to see more mining companies also declaring and paying the dividend.

However, he said: “Dividend payment is a business decision, and when the timing is right and based again on the dividend policies of the companies they will duly and as expected declare dividend.

“We believe that they are responsible companies – responsible not just in terms of their environmental performance and social and social performance, but even their fiscal performance and obligations to the state.”

While commending Chirano Gold Mines, he said it is hoped that there will be a lot more collaboration between mining companies and government; given that it is only through such engagements that the companies will continue to thrive, become viable, and improve the respective lives of mines to bring mutual benefit.