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Newmont Ghana Goldto instil a culture of safety and environmental awareness, and it's something we will continue working on. We have, for example, introduced a bonus scheme to focus attention on safety and environmental awareness, and this also rewards increases in productivity."Developing the mine from a greenfield site to full production has required an investment of around $800 million. Part of the cost has gone on land acquisition, exploration, feasibility studies and environmental management. The rest has been spent on constructing and equipping the usual mine structures such as the mill, dewatering facilities and tails dam, with processing infrastructure having been provided by Metso, Cat and Sandvik, among others. There is also a site and administrative offices, as well as a village for senior staff. Mining operations commenced at Ahafo in January 2006 and commercial milling began in July that year. Today, equipment operator training programme. One hundred and thirty local people with no prior experience have so far completed the training and gained full time employment at the mine. A further 40 inexperienced people have also been trained in process operating skills and are now employed at various skills levels in the processing plant. "We also run a programme with the schools to hire as many young people as we are able to provide positions for," Santti affirms. Nineteen young people straight from school have so far completed a three-year apprenticeship programme in process maintenance and are now working at Ahafo, while 42 more are in the process of completing a four-year mine maintenance apprenticeship. "One of the challenges we have faced with employing from the community is that their knowledge of the health and safety and the environmental hazards of the industry is very limited," Santti comments. "So we've been working March 10 www.bus-ex.com 25