In his latest report to the Security Council on the work of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), Mr. Ban notes that “immense challenges” remain in generating jobs for young people, especially in the current economic climate.Currently, some 800,000 young people are unemployed, employed without remuneration or underemployed, he writes, stressing that reversing this situation requires stepped up international investment.The country’s former minister of fisheries and marine resources is still on trial for alleged corruption, and the number of cases being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission continues to be steady.UNIPSIL was established by the Security Council in 2008 to continue UN efforts to augment peace in Sierra Leone following the end of the country’s civil war in 2002. It has the mandate of providing political advice to foster peace and political consolidation, offering support and training to the national police and security forces and strengthening democratic institutions.The Secretary-General pointed to three significant developments that could potentially greatly impact UNIPSIL’s efforts to shore up peace in Sierra Leone which occurred in the March-August reporting period.Firstly, he writes, the country is already gearing up for the 2012 elections, and secondly, the Government has speeded up initiatives to wrap up several important mining agreements, which could allow Sierra Leone to become a major mineral exporter.Lastly, presidential elections in neighbouring Guinea could potentially usher in a new democracy in the Mano River Basin area of West Africa.“While generating great benefits for Sierra Leone, these developments could also carry considerable inherent risks that bring new and complex challenges, which the Government, political parties and other political stakeholders in Sierra Leone will have to anticipate and manage in the immediate future,” the report notes. 22 September 2010Although Sierra Leone has made strides in consolidating peace and fostering national reconciliation, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that the West African nation must address the issues of high youth unemployment and corruption to ensure that the gains are not reversed.
New Gold and Western Goldfields, two separate gold mining companies, have entered into a definitive agreement in which New Gold will acquire by way of a plan of arrangement all of the outstanding common shares of Western Goldfields in exchange for one New Gold common share and C$0.0001 in cash for each common share of Western Goldfields. Upon completion of the transaction, existing New Gold and Western Goldfields shareholders will own around 58% and 42% of the combined company, respectively.Highlights of the Transaction include:Diversified gold production base from three gold mines in established jurisdictions with forecasted gold production of about 335,000 oz in 2009, expected to grow to over 400,000 oz in 2012Strong cash flow to fully fund the development at the New Afton gold-copper project in British ColumbiaDelivers on industry consolidation in a rising gold price environmentCombines experienced management teams and boards of directorsEnhances market presenceIncreases mineable reserves totalling 7.6 Moz gold within a Measured and Indicated resource of 12.2 Moz gold.Upon completion of the transaction, the executive management will consist of Randall Oliphant, Executive Chairman; Robert Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer; Brian Penny, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and James Currie, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. The board of directors will be a combination of six current directors of New Gold and four current directors of Western Goldfields, the composition of which will be determined prior to the meetings of the shareholders of both companies to approve the transaction.Robert Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer of New Gold said: “We are delighted with the announcement of the business combination with Western Goldfields. This is in line with our growth strategy and vision of becoming a Moz gold producer by 2012. This represents significant value for New Gold and Western Goldfields shareholders with greater leverage to gold in a larger intermediate gold mining company, diversified production in mining-friendly jurisdictions, and strengthened financial position.”Randall Oliphant, Chairman of Western Goldfields adds, “The combination of these two companies presents a great opportunity for both Western Goldfields and New Gold shareholders. It provides both groups with exposure to a very exciting development project in New Afton and cash flow sufficient to fund its development.”