A civil society activist and Executive Director of the NGO, Third World Network is demanding for an explanation from the administration of former President John Kufuor, for signing the stability agreements in the contract with US miner, Newmont Ghana Gold and giving the company unprecedented terms.
In an exclusive interview with ghanabusinessnews.com in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the ongoing second conference of African Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources and Development, Dr. Yaw Graham has questioned the rationale behind the Kufuor administration’s signing of the agreements with particularly Newmont Gold Ghana. The country has stability clauses in agreements with Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd., and AngloGold Ashanti, which says the mining contracts that the two miners have signed with the country cannot be varied.
Mr. Kufuor was President of Ghana for two terms from 2000 to 2008.
“That agreement was negotiated in very peculiar circumstances. I can say categorically that the Kufuor government gave privileged terms to Newmont and they owe the country an explanation,” he said, asking, “why did Newmont get terms which were so unprecedented?”
He said news out there say the Ghana Minerals Commission was marginalised during the negotiations with Newmont Gold.
“There is a political accountability from our political leaders for the problem we have with Newmont,” he said.
Newmont Ghana is the largest American investor in Ghana and second largest mining company in the country.
Meanwhile, a report by the Mining Weekly in April 2010 quoted Richard O’Brien, the CEO of Newmont as saying that the company could agree to review its investment agreement with the government of Ghana, although it has a firm contract in place already.
And Mr. Benjamin Aryee, the CEO of Ghana’s Minerals Commission told ghanabusinessnews.com that even before the Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor announced the proposed increased of the mining tax from 25% to 35%, the government has been holding negotiations with stakeholders in the mining sector and “the negotiations are continuing after the announcement of the proposed tax increases,” he said.
However, when asked about the specific agreements with Newmont Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti, he will not comment.
Listen to Dr. Graham in attached audio excerpt below.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia