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Mining communities criticize Parliament for legislative amendment

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Mining4Residents of some mine-take communities within the Ahafo project of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, have criticized the legislature for not engaging them in the amendment of certain provisions in the Minerals and Mining Act.

According to them, they are mostly affected and suffered the devastating consequences of commercial mining, noting that Parliament had failed them for not collecting their views.

The residents told Journalists at separate meetings at the Ola Resettlement Site Phase One and Ola Resettlement Site Phase Two near Kenyasi number two in the Brong Ahafo region, that the operations of the mining company had worsened their livelihoods.

The meetings were organized by the Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), an anti-corruption and media advocacy NGO.

Amendment in certain provisions in the Minerals and Mining Act has criminalized activities of small scale miners operating in the country without permit.

According to new provisions in the Act, perpetrators are liable to a summary conviction of a fine of not more than 17,000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not more than 10 years or both.

The residents, however, said such amendments in the Act were a surprise to them as they were not engaged in any discourse.

An illegal miner, Michael Donkor, noted that the only option left for many of the people who were affected by the mine was to undertake illegal mining activities to sustain their livelihood.

According to him, the crop and land compensation paid to most of them by mining companies are not enough to establish any business.

Ama Savado, a 70-year-old woman at Ola Resettlement Site Phase One, observed that management of the Ahafo mine failed to fulfil a promise made to the communities that it would engage majority of the affected people to work at the mine.

She explained that farming remains the source of livelihood of the people and since the company took over all their farmlands, life at the new site had been unbearable for most of the families.

Mr Tweneboa Kodua, the Assemblyman for Dormaa Electoral Area, affirmed that residents at the three resettlement sites had been sidelined from the poverty intervention measures put in place by the mining company.

He said the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NaDEF), a fund set-aside by the mine to carry out development projects and livelihood enhancement programmes are only concentrating on the 10 main Ahafo-mine take towns.

Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chief Executive Officer of the GLOMEF advised the residents to be patient and ensure that they channel their grievances through laid down procedures for redress.

Mr Ahenu said under the six year project being funded by the Global GreenGrant Fund at the cost of $8,000, the voices of the mining communities would be empowered and amplified.

Source: GNA

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