Residents of the two communities resettled in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region by the Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited to pave way for large scale ecological mining activities are appealing for alternative livelihoods.
They say the support will help reduce their vulnerability and mitigate the impact of the resettlement.
Moving from their former communities, they said, had contributed to the loss of their sources of income as many of them depended on illegal small scale mining and tree products such as shea.
They made the appeal when the Ghana News Agency accompanied some staff of the Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited visited the communities to engage them on their experiences in their new communities.
The two communities, Digaare (Accra site) and Biung, originally occupied the lands leased by government to the Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited, a subsidiary of Shandong Gold, Chinese Mining Firm, to engage in large scale surface mining for a period of 15 years.
The greenfield project is expected to generate 150 million tonnes of ore which translates into five million ounces of gold within the 15 years.
Currently, the Company is investing about US$520 million to construct its infrastructure base including the operational offices and staff accommodation, processing plants, Tailings Storage Facilities among others to allow for full mining operations to begin at end of 2024.
As a result, the two communities were resettled in 2022 with 121 urban type services fitted and well laid concrete residential buildings for the two communities, reticulated electric power, improved water supply and sanitation and improved community roads access.
Social amenities such as well-equipped school infrastructure with disability friendly Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and recreational facilities, healthcare facilities, teachers and nurses’ accommodation, mosques and churches, graveled roads connecting houses among others have also been provided.
However, some residents said that although they were pleased with the structures, they did not have any form of income generating activities.
Ms Zainabu Borizina, a resident of Digaare, said due to the relocation, they were unable to engage in the mining activities that they depended on to take care of their families and the situation had imposed food security challenges on their families. She, therefore, appealed to Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited and the Government to support them to acquire sustainable alternative livelihoods to help them cater for their families.
Alhaji Ibrahim Boarebon, the Chief of Digaare, commended the mining company for the support offered to the communities since the resettlement and appealed for many of his people to be included in the construction activities of the company.
He added: “We expect that when you begin mining in 2024, many of our people, especially the women and the youth, would be employed.”
He also appealed to the mining company to assist the communities with farm inputs and implements to engage in agriculture activities.
Mr Kofi Adusei, the Community and Social Responsibility Manager of Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited, noted that plans were in place to support them when mining officially begun at end of 2024.
He said the company had sustainability plans and local content policy to engage more locals and Ghanaians nationals in its operations and added that the immediate communities would be prioritised.
It was revealed that as part of the livelihood and sustainability support to some of the project-impacted communities ( Accra site, Digaare, Bapeela, Tolla Datoko, Sheaga, Buugu and Sawaliga), Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited implemented a Youth Capacity Building Training Programme in the year 2022.
Under the programme, the Company sponsored some 40 youth, including 16 females, from the Talensi District of the Upper East Region to undergo skills development for two months.
The females were trained at the Bolgatanga Technical University in carpentry, electrical installation, tiling and bricklaying.
The 24 males were trained in various crafts at Tahimayili Vocational / Technical Institute in Tamale at a total cost of GH¢345,000
This covered tuition, boarding and lodging, transportation, training gear, start-up tools and materials.
Some of the residents had already been engaged by the Company and this would continue when opportunities became available for those with the relevant skills, he assured.
The women were also free to pick Shea nuts from the area to process, Mr Adusei said.
The Company tilled the land of the farmers in the community for them to cultivate their crops in the last farming season after their resettlement.
It also paid the residents their requisite compensations for the resettlement in line with State regulations.