Thursday, 18 June 2020

Golden Star – Protecting Our People and Beyond

At Golden Star, our people are our greatest asset and our management of the current COVID-19 pandemic must, to the greatest extent possible, protect our people and our host communities from the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as a result of our operations.

As a major employer and therefore catalyst for rural economic stimulus in our host communities we share the dual burden of knowing that our continued operations are also critical to the health and wellbeing of our workforce and the thousands of people that they support both directly and indirectly.

In recognition of these responsibilities, our COVID-19 management is highly prevention-focused and proactive. As a company, we are working to provide leadership in COVID-19 management to our business partners, as well as working closely with our partners in the Ghana Health Services for the purposes of integrated management.

In this quest, as evident in our previous blog publication, Golden Star continues to ensure our activities are in line with our protocols and with government guidance and directives. We continue to support our communities and employees through:

  • Education and sensitization
  • Access, screening and travel restrictions
  • Hygiene and enhanced sanitation implementation
  • Donations from GSR Board and Executive Management Committee.
  • Support for municipal medical isolation/holding units
  • Medical preparedness and
  • Flexibility and wellbeing


Sanitising workers bus

Golden Star has employed enhanced screening protocols at site access points and stopped all non-essential company travel. We proactively supported the lock-down and quarantine protocols, implementing these in advance of the Government.

Education programs feature factual information on COVID-19 and how to stay safe and utilize resources of our medical services providers, International SOS, the World Health Organisation and other reputable sources.

Promoting hand washing at our operations
Working together and keeping our distance at a pre-start meeting

Golden Star has deepened its partnership with local health authorities and Government Agencies by providing support and assistance that has included personal protective equipment (PPE), materials for sanitation and infection control as well as assistance with holding and isolation facilities for suspected COVID 19 patients. Also, Golden Star and its contractors have further collaborated in the donation of veronica buckets, hand sanitisers and other items to the communities. These initiatives have complemented government effort and responses in each of our host communities.

Donations for Wassa East host communities
(prior to Government direction to wear masks in public)

In Wassa East, the company has provided support for the conversion of a school facility developed by the Golden Star Development Foundation, for temporary use as an isolation facility by local health services.

At our Bogoso/Prestea operations, the company has temporarily relinquished the Prestea multi-purpose recreational park to Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality for use as an isolation facility and has provided additional support by making facility modifications for this purpose.

Community chiefs and elders at the Prestea isolation centre handing over ceremony
Prestea isolation centre ward

Other donations by the company and its teams helped furnish hospitals and clinics in the municipality with infrared thermometers, nose masks, goggles, disposable gloves, hair caps, shoe covers, coveralls, liquid soaps, alcohol-based hand rubs, and veronica buckets to assist with case management at Municipality health facilities.


Donation of items to communities and local health authorities

At the national level, Golden Star through the collaboration with the Ghana Chamber of Mines donated financial support to the Ghana Ministry of Health and allied institutions as part of the mining industry’s voluntary contribution to the fight against COVID-19. This donation was for the purchase of 20 ventilators and accessories for distribution to hospitals across the country; to support the testing of 15,000 COVID-19 cases, procurement of 7,000 complete sets of PPE for frontline health workers; and to support other COVID-19 logistical requirements.

Donations ceremony by Ghana Chamber of Mines to Ghana Ministry of Health

In line with Government directives on mandatory wearing of nose masks, Golden Star has provided 2000 masks to the local communities and 3000 masks to its employees.

Let’s hear from the team about this assistance.

Rose Adjoa Mensah – Physician Assistant, Akyempim Community Clinic

Golden star has has such an impact on the clinic and the Akyempim community as a whole. During this pandemic, items such as gallons of hand sanitizers and washing soaps, disposable hand towels, veronica buckets, and others were received for the clinic. The Akyempim community also received hand sanitizers, Veronica buckets, nose masks, and handwashing soap. Also in collaboration with the community heads, sensitization has been done to create awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic to the communities.

There has also been a collaboration with the District Assembly to renovate a facility at Daboase, the district capital, as the main isolation centre for the disease if we get a suspected case.

Finally, I will urge all Ghanaians especially those in the Wassa-East District specifically Akyempim to adhere to all protocols given by the Ministry of Health in curbing this COVID-19 pandemic. God bless Golden Star and God bless our homeland Ghana.

Evelyn Asiama- Principal Nursing Officer, Critical Care-COVID-19 Holding, and Treatment Centre Prestea

With the imminent emergence of COVID-19 positive cases within the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality, Golden Star Resources approached the Management of the Prestea Government Hospital to offer the multipurpose recreational park as a holding, and treatment centre for COVID-19 cases.

The hospital management gladly accepted the offer and further requested that some structural modifications be carried out at the facility in order to make it fit for the purpose. Thankfully, GSR responded in a timely manner.

Incidentally, the completion and handing over of the modified treatment centre coincided with the registration of the 1st positive COVID-19 case in the municipality.

This intervention, amongst other things, done by the company in the fight against COVID-19 has greatly contributed to the hospital’s effort to contain and manage COVID-19 cases in the municipality.

We appreciate the active role of Golden Star in this global fight and the fight that lies ahead. Ayeeko Golden Star!!!



If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility

Other news media on Golden Star and our support in the fight against COVID-19 can be accessed from these links:

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

COVID-19 and Staying Safe

Veronica bucket donated to host community to assist with hygiene

Golden Star values and is committed to safety and employee wellbeing. Our people are our greatest asset and our management of the current COVID-19 pandemic must, to the greatest extent possible, protect our people and our host communities from the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as a result of our operations. As a major employer and therefore catalyst for rural economic stimulus in our host communities, we share the dual burden of knowing that our continued operations are also critical to the health and wellbeing of our workforce and the thousands of people that they support both directly and indirectly.

In recognition of these responsibilities, our COVID-19 management is highly prevention focussed and proactive. As a company we are working to provide leadership in COVID-19 management to our business partners, as well as working closely with our partners in the Ghana Health Services for the purposes of integrated management. Here is just some of what we’re doing:

Management Planning and Preparedness
  • Epidemic and Pandemic Management Plan updated prior to World Health Organization declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
  • Dedicated Ghana based Emergency Management Team established with Crisis Management Team established for oversight.
  • Daily situation monitoring supported by International SOS.
Chief Medical Officer meets with logistics team to discuss COVID-19 controls in their supply chains

Education and sensitization
  • Wide-spread education to workforce and host communities.
  • Open communication with Ghanaian Government and Union leadership.
COVID-19 education posters in the workplace

Access, Screening and Travel Restrictions
  • Site access and screening protocols in place since February have been effective in preventing access to our mines by people from known outbreak regions.
  • Proactively stopped international travel ahead of government travel bans.
  • Stopped in-bound travel into Ghana before any cases identified in Ghana.
  • Proactively required returning Ghanaian citizens and residents to undertake self-quarantine, prior to this being implemented as a Government initiative.
  • Proactively stopped travel between mine sites and Ghanaian epi-centres ahead of government lock-down of Accra, Kumasi and Kasoa.
  • Proactive cessation of all non-essential travel and transport by company vehicles.
Thermal screening has been implemented since the first case identified in Ghana

Hygiene and sanitation
  • Enhanced facilities for hand washing and sanitation implemented for Ebola have been maintained.
  • Employees who are ill are encouraged to stay at home.
  • Compulsory hand sanitizing stations.
Compulsory hand-sanitisation when getting on to company bus
  • Support to community including water tanks and Veronica buckets for hand washing.
  • Practicing physical distancing:
    • stopped non-essential meetings and gatherings; 
    • holding pre-start meetings outdoors wherever possible; 
    • additional buses to reduce bus seating density; and
    • additional eating areas and meal rosters to allow for greater distancing.
New hand-washing station established at Wassa underground

Medical preparedness
  • Primary medical preparedness activities implemented ahead of any cases in Ghana.
  • Targeted training for at-risk personnel (underlying medical conditions) and flexibility to enable them to self-quarantine as applicable.
Holding facility established at site for case management in event of suspected case

Flexibility and Wellbeing
  • London office started work from home ahead of UK government lock-down.
  • Proactively moved Accra office to work from home ahead of Ghana government lock-down.
  • Encourage employees to discuss flexible working or stay at home options, with leaders.
  • Leaders’ guidance documents to assist in communications with teams.
  • Extending leave for employees already on leave.
  • Supporting and providing access to programs for mental wellbeing of people working from home or in voluntary or imposed quarantine.
Hand washing at our Wassa underground

Let’s hear from the team about these controls and their importance.

Philipa Varris, EVP & Head of Sustainability
All over the world, leaders are struggling with how to protect the health and safety of their people from COVID-19, whilst at the same time, also protecting the health and safety for those same people that comes from livelihoods – the wellbeing that having work brings, the social security it creates and the wealth generation to lift people out of poverty.  In Ghana, and in Golden Star, we understand all these dimensions of health.
Within the Golden Star team, we also have these over-lapping responsibilities – to make sure everyone goes home safe and healthy every day, by ensuring that our operations do not bring COVID-19 into our host communities; and at the same time, to try and maintain our operations. 
This is something we could not do without the dedication and commitment of our team. It is because the Golden Star team have applied all the controls we have asked, that we are becoming stronger and more prepared. Thank you to you all. Ye betumi aye!

Dr. Solomon Dowdall, Chief Medical Officer – International SOS
Golden Star is taking a very proactive approach in tackling the potential harm of COVID-19, should it reach our region.
Education is a key preventative measure, with ongoing instruction on hand-washing and safe distancing, handling of goods and human interaction. Everyone at the operations are subject to ongoing screening of temperatures, symptoms, travel histories and contacts to ensure any potential cases are identified and managed early.
Our medical team is continuously updating our knowledge and strategies to be able to provide the safest workplace possible. Transit of people and goods are strictly monitored and minimized to reduce any risks of transmission into the area.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a focused team, with everybody doing their part to halt the march of this pandemic.

George Amankwah-Kumi, Group & Community Health Coordinator
It is very great to be involved in mobilizing our employees, their dependents and the catchment communities at large to protect themselves and practice basic personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing with soap and running water, the use of alcohol based hand sanitisers; and social distancing. 
It is amazing to observe the enthusiasm and swiftness with which these target groups have accepted these preventive measures as a way of life. 
I am more than convinced that together we will defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and stay healthy if we continue to keep to these basic preventive measures.




Boatemaa Hammond, Group Corporate Affairs Superintendent
The COVID-19 pandemic is not like anything we have seen before. Information keeps coming in and we have to modify our behavior to protect ourselves as well as those around us. 
As a team we need to try new things to reach employees and demonstrate our commitment to their safety and well-being. 
One of the new things we have been doing is making videos of our leaders where they talk about the current situation, the measures to be taken as a company and what each of us can do to ensure that we are safe. Everyone strongly believes that “we will come out of this is a stronger Golden Star”! Ayekoo to that! The videos have been so well received that we will likely continue this after COVID 19. 


If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Golden Star Shines at the 5th Ghana Mining Industry Awards


The 2019 Ghana Mining Industry Awards gala was held on November 29, 2019 where the Golden Star team was recognised with awards in three categories:
  • Best Performer in Occupational Health and Safety – Golden Star (Wassa) Limited
  • Financial Deal of the Year – Golden Star (Wassa) Limited 
  • Runner-up - Corporate Social Investment Project of the Year – Golden Star (Bogoso/Prestea) Limited

Golden Star Ladies showcase the awards presented to the team
Eric Bondzie, Finance Manager and Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah, MD - Wassa Mine

Best Performer in Occupational Health and Safety 

Golden Star Wassa Limited was awarded the Best Performer in Occupational Health and Safety. The award celebrates the company which excels in promoting a holistic health and safety culture and compliance with industry regulations and safety standards. 

In 2018 and 2019, Golden Star Wassa Limited and in fact, our entire company, undertook major programs for enhanced safety culture including leadership training, the development of standards to prevent fatal injuries, and various programs to enhance workplace housekeeping and safety. In 2019, GSWL met and exceeded all its leading safety metrics and achieved 15 million working man hours with no lost time injuries (LTI). 

Team Golden Star treating a casualty during an exercise at the 2019 inter-mines competition
  
Financial Deal of the Year 

This award celebrates joint financial transactions between a local financial institution and a producing mine that is breaking new ground and driving mining operations forward. Golden Star and Ecobank have had a history of financial partnership with two successful financial transactions leading up to 2018. 

In 2018, Golden Star Wassa benefited from US$45 million in financial transactions with Ecobank, following US$75 million in previous loans. The deal for which the partnership received the award secured the future of Golden Star Wassa Limited by guaranteeing continuous employment of 2,257 employees and 1,366 third party contractors (2018 data) of whom 2,170 are directly employed from the local mine communities. 

Lilian Awuah in front of her new jumbo drill 
The financial deal enabled the purchase of new equipment

Runner-up - Corporate Social Investment Project of the Year

Golden Star’s “Multi-Purpose Recreational Park Complex” was recognised as runner-up Corporate Social Investment Project of the Year, making 2019 the fourth successive year that GSBPL has been recognised in this award category.

This project saw the reclamation of an unauthorised communal refuse site into a multi-purpose recreational park complex that is now the focus for sports and social programmes for almost 30,000 people in Prestea and its surrounding communities.

The project which brought together the combined efforts of Golden Star, LOCOMs and Maintenance Sustainability Africa, has served about 30,000 people through social events ranging from competitions, wedding receptions, music festivals and others. On a weekly basis basketball and aerobics sessions are conducted, with plans for exercise programs for the elderly and infirm among others.

Before (top) and after pictures of the Multi-purpose Recreational Park


Congratulations to everyone for the fabulous efforts in 2019 which have made these recognitions possible.  

Ayekoo Golden Star!!!

If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention During #PINKTOBER

From its humble start in 2013, the aim of the Breast Cancer Awareness initiative was to bring free and confidential breast cancer screening to communities that would otherwise not have access. In the first five years of the initiative by the Golden Star Ladies Club, with the support of Golden Star, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and AEL Mining Services, more than 10,400 women and girls have undergone clinical breast cancer screening, potentially saving as many as 270 lives. 

In the final stage of the program in 2017, Golden Star in partnership with GIZ, Ghana Health Services and AEL Mining Services, established Prevention Health Units (PHUs) in the catchment government hospitals and health compounds. Under the program funding, these PHUs were equipped with preventative health equipment, enabling host communities to routinely access affordable prevention health services, including clinical breast cancer screening and education on an ongoing basis as prevention is better than a cure.

2019 was GSR’s year of celebration for the breast cancer screening programs in the communities. In the month of October, Golden Star Ladies Club went pink to raise awareness for breast cancer by embarking on numerous activities. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, over 700 women in seven communities were screened for breast cancer. The program resulted in 25 women being referred for further screening and potentially life-saving treatment.


Sandra Yawson records risk factor information from a participant


During the same month, GSR’s Ladies and management wore pink mining uniforms sown by local tailors in our host communities. 


GSR Wassa Ladies Club members with the Managing Director and HR Manager

The uniform was the official dress for the program activities which included;

  • Breast cancer awareness and self-examination talks to build capacity in  the local populace and employees
  • Fundraising for future projects
  • Inter-departmental Pink Master Chef cooking contest amongst employees
  • Clean up exercise

GSR Bogoso Ladies together with some donors; the General Manager and HSEC Manager

GSR Prestea Ladies give thumps-up to beating breast cancer

Ladies with local tailor and HSEC Manager
   
Awareness campaign

Early detection is the safe way


Activities in Pictures:

Ladies helping to make the environment clean

Pink Master Chef Competition #MenForPink
   
Here is what people had to say:


Marian Aba Amankwah – Ladies Club Member / GSWL Inventory Controller
During the month of October we were able to screen lots of women and girls which we celebrated on October 22nd. The ones that showed signs of breast cancer were registered on the National Health Insurance Scheme for further screening and possible treatment. I’m very proud of what we have achieved this month. I say Ayekoo to the GSR Ladies for the unconditional support and a thank you to the management of GSR for their continuous support and sponsorship. 


Makki Rashida Iddisu – GSBPL Ladies Club President / Snr OH & S Officer
GSBPL Ladies celebrated #PINKTOBER to raise awareness for breast cancer. Lots of activities were undertaken during this month including education on breast cancer awareness, screening, fundraising, and a cook out competition which we called the “Inter-Departmental Pink Master Chef”. Well done ladies, and a special thank you to our management and all staff for the immense support.
Special appreciation goes to the executive management and GSBPL management for their kind donations.


George Amankwah-Kumi – Group & Comm. Health Coordinator  
According to WHO, breast cancer kills about 500,000 people each year, mainly in low and middle-income countries. That’s why I joined and congratulate the GSR Ladies for their initiative to create awareness on breast cancer. With breast cancer, it’s all about early detection. We have to educate women, both young and old, to have periodic clinical breast cancer screenings in the PHUs set up in the various health facilities within GSR catchment communities by GSR and GIZ under the “Prevention is Better than Cure” project. Ayekoo Ladies!


Sara Fosu – Beneficiary of the Breast Screening at Himan 
This morning I heard an announcement that GSR Ladies requested that we come and check our health (breast screening, sugar level, blood pressure, etc.) at the community centre where they had made the equipment readily available and for free. I participated in this check and my health was fine. I encourage everyone to participate in this. GSR should continue with this program since it has really proven to be very beneficial for me and other women. I say a big thank you to the Golden Star Ladies Club. Medase!

If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Enriching our Communities Through Volunteer Work

Golden Star is once again working with our host communities to provide practical experience for young people. Between 2010 and 2019, we have hosted almost 800 attachment students, 750 National Service Personnel (NSP), 154 graduate trainees and 84 apprentices.

In 2019 alone, Golden Star is hosting around 90 National Service Personnel from our host communities and beyond. 

Inspired by Golden Star’s work and our commitment to sustainability, the National Service teams have carried out a number of their own volunteer programs as part of their contribution to corporate social responsibility (CSR). 

National Service Personnel at Bogoso/Prestea

In July 2019 the 2018/2019 National Service Personnel raised funds of over $5,000 to embark on projects to give back to the communities. These projects included:
Provision of solar panels for Brakwaline Community Clinic 
Support for National Health Insurance Scheme registration for over 500 community members
Volunteer activities including painting of Kubekro Community Primary School


Brawkwaline Community Clinic solar panels in use
Municipal Chief Executive of Prestea Huni-Valley and Golden Star’s Group and Community Health Coordinator at the launch of the solar panels for Brakwaline Community Clinic

As part of their program the National Service team arranged for personnel from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to attend the community, thus providing the opportunity for over 500 members of the community, who were not enrolled in NHIS, to undertake their enrollment and gain enhanced health security for themselves and their family.
  
National Health Insurance Scheme registration for community members

At the Golden Star Wassa operations, National Service Personnel volunteered numerous hours of their time to clean and repaint Kubekro Community Primary School and give it an enhanced look.

National Service Personnel painting Kubekro Community Primary School

Golden Star is extremely proud of the National Service Personnel and their efforts – not only in their tremendous service to the Company, but more importantly, for the leadership they have displayed through numerous hours of volunteer time and effort. Ayekoo!

Here are some of the comments made about these personnel and their projects:

Gifty Bilson – Senior Training Officer GSWL
“Everyone is capable of change and growth, we just need to know where to begin. Starting work life or a new job can be exciting. It offers the opportunity for greater independence, meeting new friends and colleagues, and learning new skills, but it can also be a stressful time for many young people. For this reason, Golden Star has put in a programme to prepare these young graduates for the job market.

Counting back from 2010, GSR has supported the scheme by providing service placement offer for hundreds of youth.

The Company’s aim is to help the National Service Personnel gain the requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience across the core operational areas of the business and also create employment opportunity for these new graduates. Well done to these personnel on their marvellous projects."

Mozart Kweku Owuh – Municipal Chief Executive of Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality 
“This is the first health facility in the Municipality to have solar panels as its source of energy. It is a small step for the GSR 2018/2019 National Service, but a giant step to achieve Sustainable Development Goals #7: Affordable and Clean Energy.

These guys have great minds and I am happy with the impacts of their project on health care delivery at the clinic. They have really left a legacy!"

Abigail Kumi – Midwife, Brakwaline Clinic
“As a midwife, this project is really going to help in safe deliveries as we previously delivered using a torch light at night. Medicines that needed cold storage could not be kept at the clinic because of the absence of electricity. This puts mothers and babies at risk during deliveries.

Ayeekoo NSP for your great work!"



Robert Ntsiful -Municipal Health Directorate Representative, Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality
“The Brakwaline Clinic is one of the greatest projects by the GSR NSP. This clinic was built around 2015 and because it did not have a grid, the facility was not fully serving its purpose. Now that we have this solar installation, we are going to see to it that it does. 

The capacity of the panel is great and we are going make sure that it stays in good condition. Kudos guys!”

Nana Kweku Frimpong, Brakwaline Chief 
“I’m excited about this project because we desperately needed this power. Golden Star and the National Service Personnel have really surprised us, so what I can say is, God richly bless them for having such a great idea to help people of Brakwaline and other surrounding hamlets."





Patience Ackon- Secretary, National Service Personnel, GSBPL
“Looking back, I'm happy that our group of Golden Star National Service Personnel focused on “Health is Wealth” as our theme for our long week celebration. Through the theme, we identified that Brakwaline Community Clinic had no power and several community members have not been enrolled in the National Health Insurance Scheme Program.

Now, I'm glad that we have been able to provide power to the clinic and we have enrolled over 500 community members in the National Insurance Scheme Program."

Prince Essel – President, National Service Personnel, GSWL
“I felt excited when we decided to volunteer as painters to give a new look to the community school block. 

I want to say a big thank you to the entire team, the community and Golden Star for giving us the opportunity to extend a helping hand onto others.

I hope that the next group of National Service Personnel at Golden Star will follow on and continue doing community service as part of their National Service Week celebration activities."

If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility.