The Center for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), an Obuasi based research and advocacy group, is advocating a deepened community engagement on resettlement and compensation by mining companies to ensure that communities are not shortchanged.
The group, which has done extensive work on compensation and resettlement in the last 10 years, believes mining communities deserve more in resettlement and compensation packages.
Mr Ali Tanti Robert, the Executive Director of CeSIS at a presentation ceremony on the findings on the impact of mining on local communities in Obuasi, made a strong case for such communities to be adequately compensated.
With funding support from the Third World Network under the Power of Our Voices Project, CeSIS commissioned a research study in the Ahafo and Ashanti Regions to investigate the experiences of communities regarding resettlement and compensation.
The presentation was, therefore, aimed at educating participants on the rights of the affected communities and the actions taken by mining companies.
The study examined three unique communities in the Adansi area, including Bidiem which were resettled 26 years ago under the 1992 resettlement law, Dokyiwaa resettled in 2011 and Anwiem that wishes to be resettled due to the risks posed by the mining company.
Findings of the study revealed that most communities were not aware of laws and policies related to resettlement and compensation, including those passed in 2012, and were not equipped to negotiate with mining companies operating in their area.
Additionally, the study found that AngloGold Ashanti had a policy on compensation, but the communities were not aware of it, and those that had received compensation were not satisfied with the outcome.
Mr Robert said as a result of these findings, the CeSIS had made several policy recommendations to AngloGold Ashanti, including increased engagement with communities to ensure their understanding of relevant laws and policies, and the need for communities to become more knowledgeable about the law to better negotiate with mining companies.
“CeSIS also plans to organise workshops to educate communities about their rights and also collaborate with radio stations and other media outlets to share information to the general public, while engaging in constructive dialogue with AngloGold Ashanti to build a more positive relationship between the company and the communities in which it operates,” he hinted.
According to him, the report had been validated and would be submitted to relevant policymakers and stakeholders.
Mr Karim Iddrisu, President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled in Obuasi Municipality, expressed satisfaction about the research and emphasised that the community had been eagerly waiting for evidence-based studies of this nature.
He urged AngloGold Ashanti to factor the research findings in their compensation and resettlement policies and make the policies more transparent.
Mr Kojo Appiah, a resident of Anwiem-Obuasi, said the research had helped the community to understand the positive and negative impact of the mining company on their community and expressed the hope that the research would lead to improvement in their community.
He also recounted how mining activities had negatively impacted members of the affected communities over the years and stressed the need for miming companies to adequately compensate such communities.