Local communities in Newmont Ahafo Mine’s Enclave Urged to be More Cooperative

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Focus, a Non-governmental organisation which promotes community development and environmental sustainability within Newmont Ahafo Mine enclave in the Ahafo region has urged local communities to cooperate with the mine, as the company begins actual mining at its Ahafo South project.

According to the NGO which also works to promote human rights within the mine’s enclave, Newmont had already acquired the Ahafo south mine’s concessional area, covering Afrisipakrom, Techire, Susuanso, Adrobaa and Yamfo in the Tano North Municipality from the government.

The NGO observed it would be in the interest of the mine’s affected communities, if the people negotiated with Newmont on compensation and other entitlement issues, saying though focus was always mindful of the negative impact of mining, with strong partnership and collaboration, affected communities could better manage negative impacts and maximise positives.

Addressing a news conference at Susuanso, one of the mining communities within the Newmont Ahafo north mine’s enclave, Victor Gyabaah, the Secretary, said the Focus had the interest of the mining communities and would continue to push community development and asked the local people to “to come with open heart and mind to dialogue with Newmont and journey together on emerging issues to positively impact our communities”.

“This is why we call on individuals who are seeking court injunction to restrain the mine from operating in the area to as a matter of urgency the issue from court as the court injunction has halted Newmont mine’s project development in Ahafo south mine”, he said.

Mr Gyabaah regretted that operations of the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF), a foundation set by the mine to push community development in 10-mine take communities had also halted operations because of the impasse between the company and the communities, slowing down development processes in the area.

“Now many of our qualified students cannot access the scholarship package of the foundation to continue with their education while infrastructural projects had also been stalled in the local communities”, he indicated.

Mr Gyabaah noted that the Newmont Ahafo mine project served as an economic driver for the local economy, thereby attracting investors into the local economy, saying with Newmont’s investment of US$850 million into the Ahafo south mine project, the five local communities would be opened up for economic prosperity.

Meanwhile some of the resident farmers directly or indirectly affected by the mine’s operations have condemned the practice of some of the local people who had put up speculative structures in the mine’s concessional enclave, just to obtain undue compensation.

They told the local reporters that the practice had halted the payment of compensation to deserving farmers, and asked those engaged in such speculative activities to be faithful to themselves so the right thing to pave the way for the company to pay them the compensation.

The resident expressed the worry that since the company declared a moratorium on its concessional areas, they were unable to engage in any commercial farm work, and called on the company to facilitate payments of compensation to enable them to engage in other alternative livelihoods to better their lot.

Mr Joseph Baffour Darkwah, a farmer and Adrobaa local President of Focus, said Newmont had so far paid US$22 million dollars as crop compensation in the 10 mine-take communities since it started the Ahafo mine operations.

“The company has also allocated more than US$20 million to be disbursed to the communities. But the current impasse between the people and the company has slowed down the disbursement process”.

“In fact we have learnt a lot of lessons from other mining communities and I believe the disbursement of these monies to the communities distinctively would better the livelihoods of our farmers and their dependents”, Mr Darkwah stated.

He therefore called on the local communities to remain truthful with Newmont on matters relating to compensation so that affected farmers could obtain their share and improve on their socio-economic livelihoods.

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