Newmont Gold willing to compensate farmer for illegal felling of cocoa trees
Newmont Gold Ghana Limited (NGGL) says it is ready to compensate Mr Bismark Kyei Asiedu, a farmer whose cocoa trees were cut down during a boundary-demarcation exercise at its Akyem Project in the Eastern Region.
Mr Asiedu in a petition to the General Manager of Newmont Golden Ridge Limited copied to the GNA alleged that even though the company had not negotiated with him about the payment of compensation in accordance with Section 13 (9) of the Mining Law, Newmont had entered his farm and cut down 20 of his cocoa trees.
He claimed he had not given anybody the mandate to negotiate on his behalf and did not recognise the Crop Compensation Committee set up by the company, because according to him the Committee was alien to the Mining Law. The Law states that the Mining Lease Holder should negotiate with the lawful occupier of land that falls under the area for which the lease is granted.
Mr Asiedu accused Newmont of flouting the Laws of Ghana with impunity, and said Newmont could not have done that in the United States, the home country of Newmont, adding that the classification of his cocoa trees into small, medium and matured was alien to the Mining Law.
When the GNA contacted the NGGL for its comments, the Regional Manager Communications, Ms Adiki Ayitevie said Mr Asiedu “formally brought it up during a community durbar organised in Aduasena, and in all other Akyem Project area communities, to discuss details about the declaration of a mining area and the processes involved and to track issues arising out of the declaration.
“In Adausena, the company acknowledged that it had disturbed some crops during the boundary clearing for the mining area declaration. The company explained the urgency that was required at the time to get the boundary clearly demarcated for farmers and landowners to know whether they were in or out of the mining area.”
Ms Adiki said a day after the durbar Mr Asiedu “went with Newmont field officers inspected, counted and signed off on the affected crops for the necessary compensation process to ensue”.
She said if Mr Asiedu “prefers to have individual negotiations, he has that right under the Minerals and Mining Law to pursue that course,” adding, “Newmont on its part has in the past and will continue to reach agreement with affected parties in a mutually acceptable manner (either collectively by way of the Compensation Negotiation Committee) or individually”.
The government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has consummated a process began by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to permit NGGL to destroy the Ajenua-Bepo Forest Reserve, citing the opening up of employment opportunities and the possible invasion of the area by small-scale miners.
The mine would lead to the creation of a 2.5 kilometre long; 900 metres wide and 500 metres deep trench in the Ajenua-Bepo Forest Reserve.