All things being equal, residents of the Upper East Region will breathe a sigh of relief, as they will no longer have to endure the stress of traveling to Tamale to board a flight, thanks to a joint partnership between the government of Ghana and the gold mining company, Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited.
Due to the lack of an airport in the region, residents have to travel to Tamale, a two-hour journey to board a flight. Aside from the fact that the situation affects lives and economic activities, residents of the region have to spend additional time and money just to reach the nearest airport in Tamale.
The two-hour journey to Tamale adds inconvenience and extra costs for individuals who need to travel by air. Travellers have to factor in the time it takes to travel to the airport and plan their schedules accordingly. This is especially problematic for people who frequently need to travel for business or medical reasons.
It is against this backdrop that the government is negotiating with Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited, a subsidiary of Shandong Gold, a Chinese mining company located in the Talensi district to provide funds for the construction of an airport for the Upper East Region.
Steve Ofori Asamoah, Project Manager for the mining company said the plans are far advanced with designs and funds approved for the construction of an airport for the region.
“An amount has been approved for the construction but we are waiting for a few negotiations between Cardinal and the government of Ghana and as soon as that one is done, we will start working on other things. We’ve started the designs, we’ve started Ghana Aviation Authority, so we are on it”
According to Mr. Asamoah, the company planned to construct an airstrip for employees travelling out of the region and for gold bullion purposes.
“But we had a consultation with the government and the government wanted us to make it a public airport but not an airstrip anymore”, he added.
He was speaking to the media at the company’s operation site in Talensi when the Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr. Sulemanu Koney, and his entourage paid a working visit to the firm.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu when the team visited him, described the idea as “exciting news” adding that the construction of an airport in the region will create jobs and boost economic development in the region. Even though the location of the airport project has not been made public, the minister proposed for it to be constructed on “an already land that the government acquired somewhere in the 80s which is about 10 miles” away from the regional coordinating council.
The Upper East region is known for its cultural heritage and natural attractions such as the Tongo Whistling Rocks and the Pikworo Slave Camp. The Overlord of the Talensi Traditional Area, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang commended the mining company for the plan to construct an airport in the region saying it will improve the tourist sector of the region.
Even though preliminary work was done at a proposed site for an airport at Anateem in the Bolgatanga municipality in 1995, the project was abandoned after several failed attempts by successive governments to complete it. A runway of 120 metres in width and 3.5 kilometres in length was constructed and abandoned. Officials of Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited have expressed their commitment to ensuring the construction of an airport for the Upper East Region.
Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited came to being when Shandong Gold acquired the then Cardinal Resources in the year 2020 to prospect gold in the Talensi district. It is expected that the company will commission and pour its first gold in the last quarter of 2024. For the 15-year mine life, it is estimated that the company will produce an average of 278 million ounces of gold.
Steve Ofori Asamoah, Project Manager for Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited said the company currently has an employment rate of 1,024 workers with 54 percent being natives of the Upper East Region, 44 percent outside the region, and 2 percent representing the expatriates.
Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Talensi|Ghana