Youth in nine mining communities in the Birem North District have staged a three-day demonstration against the management of Newmont Akyem project, saying the company has failed to employ some of them.
They blocked roads at vantage points in the communities to prevent workers of the company from going to work, deflated tires of some of the vehicles carrying the workers to work, caused damage to some of the vehicles and attempted to seize an AK 47 riffle from a Police Officer during the demonstration. The protest started last Monday and ended on Wednesday.
The communities include Afosu, Old Abirem, Maamaso, New Abirem, Yaayaso, Adausena, Hwaekwae, Ntronang and Yawtano.
Speaking to the Ghana New Agency after the demonstration, Assembly Member for Ntronang, Mr Cimon Druye said, the management of Newmont Akyem Gold mining project had refused to employ the youth in the affected communities after acquiring their mining license.
He said the company only offered employment to few ones in affected communities as casual workers, who would be laid off after three to six months. He added that the company had also started blasting generating dust that had polluted their water bodies and the air.
Mr Druye said the company was rather employing people from Bogoso, Tarkwa, Nigeria and South Africa while they had neglected those from the affected mining communities.
When the External Affairs Manager of the company, Mr Felix Apoh was contacted, he said the company at the moment had employed 262 unskilled workers from the affected communities that forms 60 per cent of the current total workforce as against 35 per cent agreed during the mining construction.
He said the total workforce of the company in full operation would be 1,000 but there were about 30,000 youth in the various affected communities which the company could not employ all of them.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Ms Mavis Ama Frempong said the District Security Committee (DISEC) in collaboration with chiefs and other opinion leaders brought the situation under control after they visited the various communities to educate and explain the employment situation to the people.
He said the government, Newmont and the chief were prepared to listen to their grievances and find amicable solution to them to ensure peace and development in the area.