Sefwi farmers threaten to take over Chirano Mines’ lands

Concerned Citizens and farmers of Sefwi in the Chirano Gold Mines operational area, have threatened to take their lands back if the company did not immediately effect the payment of compensation in line with the Land Valuation Division’s recommendation.

At a press conference in Accra on Thursday, the farmers, clad in mourning cloth, expressed frustrations about the injustice being meted out to them years after they were driven off their lands.

“The leadership of the affected farmers has come under immense pressure as a result of the long delay in getting the compensation paid,” Mr Prince Eric Amoako-Atta, spokesperson of the group told journalists, adding that the pressure threatened the existing process to solve the impasse amicably and could affect mining operations in the area.

Mr Amoako-Atta said between 2004 and 2006, the Chirano Mines paid compensation to some farmers based on GH¢2.5 per matured cocoa tree after misinforming the farmers that the government’s rate was GH¢2.3.

He said the dissatisfied farmers, who learnt later that the government approved crop compensation rate was GH¢5.22 per matured cocoa tree, took the company to court.

The company then requested for an out of court settlement but failed to stick to the process to resolve the issues, culminating in another suit at the Fast Track High Court in Accra in 2007.

Mr Amoako-Atta said in 2009, the then Minister of Lands and Natural Resource, Alhaji Collins Dauda intervened and initiated a process to the get the matter settled out of court in line with the Minerals and Mining Act.

He said in May, 2012, the Land Valuation Division wrote to the Chirano Gold Mines to effect payment of compensation assessed as provided by the LVD, taking due cognizance of earlier payments made in relation to the compensation claim.

Mr Amoako-Atta said a follow up letter from the farmers to the current Minister, Mr Mike Hammah, did not also yield any result after the company failed to pay the compensation.

In a meeting with the group, Mr Hammah gave a two-week ultimatum to LVD and the Company to deal with the compensation issues.

Source: GNA

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