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Stop Mining Land War Now—Chamber Of Mines Boss Warns
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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr. Sulemanu Koney, has stated that the protracted land grievances and conflicts in the mining communities have been adversely affecting social and economic development of Ghana’s mining industry.

According to him, the unresolved land disputes in mining communities were completely driving away a lot of strategic foreign mining companies and investors from investing in the extractive sector. In this regard, Mr Koney stressed the need for policy makers to engage land owners and chiefs to help settle land conflicts in the mining industry of the country. “I want to state that the persistent resistance of residents and custodian land owners with regard to the acquisition of environment mining operating permits by the foreign mining companies is one of the causes stalling development in the extractive industry, ” Mr Koney said. He went on to stress that “do not tax the mining exploration by mining companies and investors in Ghana upfront.

Because mining exploration is very capital expensive. And this attitude must be changed now… it is driving away foreign mining companies from investing in Ghana.” He pointed out that the existing multi-national mining companies operating in Ghana have demonstrated their spirit of corporate social responsibilities (CSR) by way of partnering traditional leaders and chiefs in the mining communities to set up industrial projects and programmes which have helped to provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in these communities. He asserted that the country will be at a huge economic and social advantage if “we allow foreign mining companies and investors to invest hugely in the extractive sector, and thus called on traditional rulers, custodial land owners and chiefs to make their lands litigation-free in order to attract more foreign mining investors. “Do not drive them away from your lands,” the CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines advised chiefs and custodian land owners in mining communities.

Mr Koney expressed these sentiments while he was addressing some selected journalists from Accra, Kumasi and Sunyani during a one-day tour of the Ahafo Mine project of Newmont Ghana Gold (NGGL) in the Asutifi District of the Brong Ahafo Region on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

The tour, organised by Ghana Chamber of Mines with support from NGGL, brought together about 20 journalists belonging to the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA). Participants were taken round to NGGL Ahafo Mine project’s processing mill, tailing site, Subika underground mine and projects embarked on trough the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility arm, Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF). The CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines was highly impressed with the huge projects NGGL had done in its ten host communities of the district through funding from the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF).

For his part, Communications Manager of NGGL Ahafo Mine Project, Mr. Agbeko Azumah, revealed that NADeF has hugely assisted individual communities on variety of projects in areas of education, health, human resource development, and social amenities among others, but would be better if all the ten communities decide on a common project that will help the youth acquire jobs. According to him, education has been a priority of NGGL, Kenyasi Traditional Council and the community members; hence most of NADeF’s funding has been channelled to improve upon the standard of education, through the provision of infrastructure, teaching and learning materials, scholarships to needy students, and ICT centres among others.

Mr Azumah disclosed that the intervention of NADeF had helped improve the standard of education and security in its operating areas in the district and stressed that the communities should not relent on such an effort, and called on them to continue to strive harder to achieve an enviable standard.

NADeF is a sustainable community development foundation, which was established in May 2008 through a Foundation Agreement developed and signed between Newmont Ghana Gold Limited and the Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum, represented by 10 Ahafo Mine communities, local government, regional government and civil society, to share resources granted to the foundation through an annual contribution from Newmont to support community development programmes in the area of mines’ operations.

Mr Azumah also called on the media to demand accountability of the royalties and the social and economic development endowment funds paid by mining companies to the communities and other state agencies. Meanwhile, Today has gathered that the annual contribution from Newmont comprises US$1 per ounce of gold produced, and 1% of net profit from the Ahafo Mine, which has accrued to GH¢54.2 million, with an Endowment Fund of GH¢37 million.

This paper also discovered that over 100 social amenities and infrastructural projects have been constructed with funding from the Foundation, out of which two health training institutions have been established—the Ntotoroso College of Nursing and Yamfo College of Health both training over 800 students. Also, Today learnt that there were seven health infrastructure, over 40 education infrastructure, and over 20 water and sanitation facilities among others. Today was reliably informed about the five-fully furnished ICT centres at the Kodiwohia Basic School, T.I. Ahmaddiyah Basic School, Methodist Basic School, D/A Girls Basic School and the St Peter’s R/C Basic School provided through NADeF funding, at a total cost of GH¢610,213.60.

The paper was further briefed on the newly-constructed six-unit classroom block of the Obeng Manu Presbyterian Basic School, which cost NADeF an amount of GH¢325,465.90 at Kenyasi No.1. After a visit to the Ntotoroso College of Nursing, the journalists proceeded to the Bamboo Bike Factory at Gyedu, where the factory has a total staff of 38, which is to ensure youth employment and economic growth of the communities. Youth, who are privileged to be employed at the Bamboo Bike Factory, expressed how their lives had been changed, as they now have jobs as their source of livelihood to cater for their lives and that of their families.

Source: today

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