NGO gives Newmont Ultimatum to pay compensation to Farmers

Newmont Ghanax
Newmont Ghana

The livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG), a Sunyani-based environmentally-inclined Non-governmental organisation on Monday the Newmont Ahafo North project one-month ultimatum to pay the outstanding compensation of the affected farmers by the mine in the Ahafo Region.

Registered in 2004, LEG is a research and advocacy NGO that promotes community rights and mineral governance, environmental sustainability and sustainable livelihood for marginalized people, including rural women and persons with disabilities.

According to Mr Richard Adjei-Poku, the Executive Director, LEG would have no other option than to arraign the mining giant in court, if it failed to effect payment of the arrears to the affected farmers by the end February 2024.

Addressing a news conference in Sunyani, Mr Adjei-Poku noted both Article 20 (2a), 1992 Constitution, and Section 73 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, (Act 703, 2006), mandated companies to execute a prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation to persons whose properties (buildings, crops and lands) shall be affected by mineral operations.

Additionally, the Compensation and Resettlement Regulation (2012, L.I. 2175 Section 4 (1)) also mandates companies to pay property owners within three months after an amount of compensation payable has been agreed by parties else pay 10 percent interest anytime compensation remains unpaid.

“Unfortunately, Newmont Ahafo North project of the Newmont Africa continues to be disdainful to the farmers and laws of Ghana”, he stated.

Describing Newmont as “exploitative, anarchist, violator and defiant”, Mr Adjei-Poku an environmentalist is “failing to pay compensation arrears of the vulnerable farmers in Ahafo North whose compensation packages were manipulated by the same company and its allies”.

“Last year, the government issued Executive Instrument compelling the concern farmers in Ahafo North who rejected Newmont scanty compensation package to accept the package else they shall use force to acquire the land”, Mr Adjei-Poku stated and wondered why the “government is putting blind ear, as the company fails to pay the arrears”.

Section 100 (1), Minerals and Mining Act (Act 703, 2006), compels the government and the regulatory bodies to ensure proper implementation and companies’ compliance of the mining laws.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPBHR, 2011) also compels governments to conduct regular review on whether or not the laws are providing the necessary coverage to mining affected people and communities.

However, Mr Adjei-Poku stressed it was rather unfortunate and disturbing that the government and relevant state institutions were silent as the company apparently breached provisions in the 1992 constitution and the Minerals and Mining Act.

“Newmont Corporation is the leading gold company and it has attained this because of their production from Ahafo and Akyem mines in the country”, he said, and called on law enforcement agencies to ensure that “the laws work for all not only multinational mining companies”.

“LEG is therefore, giving Newmont up to the end of February, 2024 to settle all compensation arrears in Ahafo North or face court action”, Mr Adjei-Poku stated.

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