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IFC Signs $125 million Loan for Ghana Gold Mine, Supports Programs to Improve Living Standards


In Washington, D.C.:
Hannfried von Hindenburg
Phone: +(202) 458-5613
Email: hvonhindenburg@ifc.org

In Accra:
Kennedy Fosu
Phone: +(233) 21 229681
Email: kfosu@worldbank.org


Washington, July 18, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed a $125 million loan to the Ahafo gold mine in Ghana to support the country’s mining sector, help raise environmental standards, employ international best practices on resettlement, and ensure that local communities benefit from the project.

The loan consists of $75 million for IFC’s own account and an additional $50 million in syndicated loans from commercial lenders to Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation, for the construction and operation of the Ahafo mine. As a development lender, IFC’s primary role in this project is to advise on environmental and social issues.

“IFC’s involvement brings expertise and guidance to help ensure that the mine’s social and environmental performance meets international standards, particularly with respect to the resettlement process and community engagement and that the project provides increased benefits for Ghana and particularly for the people living near the mine,” said Rashad Kaldany, IFC’s Director for Oil, Gas, Mining and Chemicals. “That is why Newmont sought our engagement and we are pleased to work with them on our common goal of bringing benefits to local communities.”

To maximize local development benefits, IFC and Newmont will provide information and expertise on business practices to local small and medium-sized firms, putting them in the position to become potential suppliers and providers of services such as food, laundry, equipment maintenance, cleaning to Ahafo and other ventures outside the mine. A special emphasis will be placed on empowering women entrepreneurs. The program will also help local enterprises to develop the business skills needed to obtain loans from local banks. In addition, IFC is working with the company on the development and implementation of an effective HIV/AIDS program.

The mine has created over 1200 permanent jobs and will be an important source of income for one of Africa’s most mature democracies. It will pay over $300 million in taxes and royalties to Ghana, increase the country’s gold production by 30 percent and raise its foreign exchange earnings by eight to ten percent.

“This is an important project for Ghana, which is one of the few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that stands a chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals,” said Thierry Tanoh, IFC’s Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. “Mining is the biggest source of foreign direct investment in the country and IFC has dedicated a significant amount of its own resources to help ensure Ghana benefits from the project.”

IFC, together with the company, developed an environmental and social monitoring system and Newmont is implementing a biodiversity management plan in collaboration with environmental group Conservation International. IFC has also instituted an ongoing, independent review of the programs establish by Newmont to restore the livelihoods of the more than 9000 people either resettled or otherwise affected by the mine.

“We have engaged with IFC to benefit from their expertise on environmental and social matters,” said Wayne Murdy, Newmont Mining Corporation’s chief executive. “Their help and advice on resettlement and restoration of livelihood has been particularly valuable to us. We are committed to operating the Ahafo mine to the highest international standards.”

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

Syndication

The commercial banks participating in the $50 million syndicated loan are: Calyon, NM Rothschild and Sons Limited, Bank of Nova Scotia, Société Générale and Royal Bank of Scotland plc.